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The historic path for the next Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson ends a trail blazed by countless Black women before her.

Harriet Tubman fled so that we could one day be free.

Harriet ran so that Fannie Lou Hamer could years later, organize Black voters and ??co-found the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP), fighting for the equality promised to us.

Shirley Chisholm became the first Black woman elected to Congress so we could have visible representation at the table. She ran for President of the United States to show us that our potential has no bounds.

Chisholm paved the way for Kamala Harris to become the first Black Vice President of the United States, adding to the list of Black women that lead and have led nations.

I don’t know if these women knew it at the time but their bravery would be imprinted on the DNA of Black women for generations to come. We would stand on their shoulders, reaching higher heights of success and power. Their journeys have inspired and empowered us 

And now because of them, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson has secured her seat on the Supreme Court–protecting liberty and justice for all and showing us that Black women can sit on the highest bench in the land.

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson pushes back at GOP critics, defends record confirmation hearings supreme court
Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson testifies during her Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Ketanji Brown Jackson weathered right-wing attacks with poise and ease.

Like many of our Black women ancestors and leaders, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s appointment didn’t come without criticism and struggle. 

True to the divisive culture and history of Congress, right-wing politicians have fought to discredit President Biden’s Supreme Court Justice nomination. Democratic Senator Joe Manchin called out Republican attacks claiming Brown Jackson is soft on crime.

She’s been attacked for imposing sentences lower than prosecutor recommendations in child sexual abuse cases despite the fact that other nominees had done the same. And let’s not forget Senator Ted Cruz’s ongoing tirade about the prosecutor’s support of “woke” education during the judiciary hearings.

The comment that really annoyed me was Senator Tom Cotton saying, “Judge Jackson is a far-left activist. She always has been. Just because she put on a black robe 10 years ago, she didn’t change.” 

Historic nomination: First Black woman Supreme Court Justice

The negative dissection of what has been a solid prosecutorial record and exemplary character was an attempt to break Ketanji Brown Jackson down. However, she was held strong by lawmakers and the public.

Senator Cory Booker praised the historic nomination and affirmed Jackson’s well-deserved right to be in those hearings and secure that nomination.

The Congressional Black Caucus posed for a picture with t-shirts saying “Black Women are Supreme”. 

And most importantly, Judge Jackson has been uplifted by all the little girls across the country that have become inspired by her. She said, “Since I was nominated to this position, I have received so many notes and letters and photos from little girls around the country who tell me that they are so excited for this opportunity and that they have thought about the law in new ways”.

So on this day, history has been made. And Black women have proven once again that we persevere and we deserve to be here.

We are shattering glass ceilings and clearing a path for the little Black girls that come behind us. They stand on the shoulders of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson and will one day reach higher heights than they could’ve ever imagined.

Tanesha Peeples is driven by one question in her work--"If not me then who?" As a strategist and injustice interrupter, Tanesha merges the worlds of communications and grassroots activism to push for radical...

2 replies on “Ketanji Brown Jackson gives Black women new shoulders to stand on”

  1. Hopefully KETANJI BROWN JACKSON will do more for black women that Obama did..

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