Observed in March, Women’s History Month commemorates the accomplishments of trailblazing women that have broken barriers in professional fields that were so often dominated by men. In many cases, these successful women are unknown to the general public but the work they’ve accomplished leaves an eternal legacy.
Listening to the car radio on my daily trip to Mom’s, President Biden was making his announcement to fill Justice Stephen Breyer’s seat on the supreme court. Breyer is retiring this summer. Feeling like a kid, racing home, I blasted through the door and straight to the television to watch this historical event with my mother.
President Biden’s nomination of Judge Katanji Brown-Jackson is the first black woman ever nominated to the Supreme Court. If the Senate approves Biden’s nomination, she will be the third Black person to serve on America’s highest court. Biden’s announcement was made two years to the day he said he would appoint a black female to the supreme court if he became president.
As Biden stood in front of the podium making this historical announcement, on February 22, I could not help but notice the two black women that stood so eloquently and humbly behind him. Vice President Kamala Harris on his left, and Judge Katanji Brown on his right. Two of the highest positions in this country are being held by women. Black women. Intelligent, beautiful black women that broke through seen and unseen barriers.
Jackson is an experienced attorney and has a very broad legal profession as a public defender, an appellate judge, a federal district court judge, and currently is a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit court. She was also a law clerk of Justice Breyer. No stranger to Senate votes, she was appointed to the DC court of appeals by President Obama.
Acknowledging March as women’s history month, there are other women of color that have been trailblazers and champions of “firsts”, both on the local and national level. First, there wouldn’t be a Women’s History Month without mothers. Graciously accepting the nomination and giving her acceptance speech, my heart smiled when Judge Brown-Jackson told her children no matter what her title or job is, she would always be mom. That was a statement to other working moms and children of working moms. While it’s a constant balance of work and motherhood, family is her priority.
For the woman who had the audacity to give voice to black people and put their voice in indelible ink, thank you Elise Allen for letting that voice be the Traveler Newspaper. In her acceptance speech, Judge Brown mentioned Constance Motley, the first black woman appointed as a federal judge 56 years ago. Sian Proctor was the first black woman to pilot a spacecraft. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, hired the first black female CEO in the NBA, Cynt Marshall.
There are so many other black women that have contributed to our culture, education, and society, and yet, have been overlooked. Most were probably not looking for notoriety, but following their passion and God-given talent. Today, there are still workplace and leadership cultures that must change to level up the playing field.
Judge Brown-Jackson’s Senate Judiciary confirmation will begin on March 21, 2022. There will be four days of testimonies and hearings from the Senate. A simple majority vote is needed to confirm Supreme Court justices in the Senate. Democrats control the Senate in Congress. Hopefully, by March 30, 2022, America will have confirmed another first, Supreme Court Justice Katanji Brown Jackson.