Magazine, The Immigrant Experience
“It has taken 232 years and 115 prior appointments for a Black woman to be selected to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States,” she said. “But we’ve made it. We’ve made it. All of us.”
These remarks were made by Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson – the first Black woman confirmed by the Senate last week as the first Black woman to serve on the US Supreme Court – while addressing the White House ceremony held to celebrate her confirmation.
She was right in taking her appointment as a moment of pride not only for her, or other Black women, but also for the entire American nation. With her confirmation, America has taken a gigantic step towards the American ideals of gender and race equity. In fact, it is a moment of triumph for Black women – a moment that will help a great deal in combating and overcoming gender inequality and racial discrimination within the US, and promulgating American ideals abroad.
An immeasurable array of emotions filled the air at the South Lawn when Jackson paraphrased from Maya Angelou’s “Still I Rise” to underscore the idea of being a role model to so many, especially Black women: “I do so now while bringing the gifts my ancestors gave. I am the dream and the hope of the slave.”
This had made the faces of the Black women seated on the South Lawn glow with joy and pride. They surely understood how important this moment is for young Black women and girls when a Black woman opens new doors of opportunities for them by putting an end to the centuries-old isolation and apartheid that barred Black women from serving on the Supreme Court.
Democrat Raphael Warnock, one of the Senate’s three Black members, conveyed well what Jackson’s confirmation means for Black women. He said, “I’m the father of a young Black girl. I know how much it means for Judge Jackson to have navigated the double jeopardy of racism and sexism to now stand in the glory of this moment. … Seeing Judge Jackson ascend to the Supreme Court reflects the promise of progress on which our democracy rests. What a great day it is in America.”
All the credit for this historic development that will give a blow to race and gender-based practices goes to Jackson, who was determined to be a role model for young Black women, and nothing could shake her determination, not even the strong opposition and nasty criticisms. Then come the young Black women and girls, who followed along with Jackson’s nomination process, and those who made a mark in their respective fields to show Americans that Black women are not inferior in talent and leadership.
However, President Biden also deserves big credit for making good on a campaign promise of infusing a broader range of backgrounds in the federal judiciary. “Judge Jackson’s confirmation was a historic moment for our nation. We’ve taken another step toward making our highest court reflect the diversity of America. She will be an incredible Justice, and I was honored to share this moment with her,” he tweeted.
It Revives Black Girls’ Hopes
Christine Croasdaile, a Law student at Howard University, was overwhelmingly happy to see a Black woman on the Supreme Court. She said while talking to BBC, “Even with our accolades and education, we are oftentimes barred from the very positions we have prepared for, hoped for, and prayed for. So having this esteemed force in the field of law join the bench and highest court of the United States would mean the world for every little black girl to know that they too can aspire for the best and be a vessel of wisdom and justice in this country and beyond.”
Similarly, another young Black girl, Jade Baker believes that Jackson’s confirmation “blows the whole game wide open for myself and other black women in the legal world. Black women only make up 2% of the [law] profession. Now that we’ve seen a black woman make it to the highest position in the legal profession, it seems like anything is possible. I’m going to walk with a different sense of confidence, knowing that I can accomplish anything I set my mind to.”
The historic words in President Biden’s speech at the White House ceremony rightly forecasted that Jackson’s appointment “is going to let so much sunshine in on so many young women, so many young Black women, so many minorities.” Indeed, it is a historic step towards rooting out systemic racism in the American justice system and society, besides acting as a precedent for young Black girls that anything is possible.