On March 18, Harris County, Texas Attorney Christian Menefee sent a letter signed by nearly 300 Black attorneys licensed to practice in Texas to Senator Dick Durbin, the Chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary, and Senator Chuck Grassley, the Ranking Member of the Committee on the Judiciary.
This historic letter supports Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation to the Supreme Court of the United States, and urges the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary to make it happen.
Menefee and his contingent of bipartisan lawyers said what so many other organizations and individuals have said —that Jackson’s credentials are impeccable, and her experience as a lawyer and judge is beyond reproach. What they didn’t say — but even Mos Def could have — is that Jackson has more qualifications than the last two confirmed justices combined.
But Menefee said something else that’s worth noting while lauding Jackson:
“State bars across this country are filled with brilliant Black women who have won important cases, served honorably as judges, and shattered glass ceilings.”
Those words serve as a reminder that Jackson’s confirmation is so much bigger than just Jackson’s confirmation. This sister represents so much more.
And as a Black man, I am making a special plea to my brothers: If you haven’t already, add your name and your voice to those declaring support for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson and calling for her confirmation.
When I ponder Jackson and where she stands at the intersection of history and the present, I see clearly that she represents those “4 Little Girls” — Addie May Collins, Carol Denise McNair, Cynthia Wesley, and Carole Rosamond Robertson — who were murdered on Sept. 15, 1963, via the bombing of Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church. The justice those angels and their families deserved has yet to visit them. Having a Supreme Court Justice literally created in their image is a huge move in the right direction.
But Jackson represents my own “4 Little Girls,” even though they aren’t so little anymore.
My oldest child, MarQuita, a recent member of the 30-plus club, has already established herself as an exceptional K-12 teacher, model, media entrepreneur, and mother of three. Bria, age 26, is a new mom with an old soul, which is one reason why she’s absolutely adored by her clients as a senior care professional. How she does that while being a full-time college student and a full-time mom is beyond me. I guess she gets it from her mama — like our two youngest daughters, Maisha, age 20, and Anana, age 18, both college students.
This fantastic four are as gifted and talented as they are unique, creative, caring, and deserving of a society that doesn’t conspire to underpay and undervalue all they bring to the table —like some GOP members are trying to play Ketanji.
Jackson embodies the beauty and strength of not only my daughters but of multiple generations of Black women and girls. She represents our mothers and aunties and the courageous and creative brilliance they have always displayed, even while society somehow, purposefully and otherwise, attempted to white-out, ignore, and overlook them. Even while society tried and continues to attempt to bite their rhymes, surgically engineer their looks, and appropriate (steal) their fire and call it their own.
Jackson carries the torch passed by Shirley Chisholm, Barbara Jordan, Daisy Bates, Ella Baker, Queen Mother Moore, Betty Shabazz, Coretta Scott King, Yaa Asantewaa, Queen Nzinga, and so many more. Her presence alone is a legal force amid a system that has too long legally forced and enforced oppressive measures upon our people. Her presence is a declaration of Black fight, Black power, and Black self-determination.
Jackson also represents all the elegance of Black women. Because what’s more elegant than a soul sister being all she was created to be, displaying her brilliance, savvy, compassion, and fight — unapologetically?
The Black lawyers out of Texas who said with their chests that they strongly support Jackson’s confirmation joined and have been joined by countless individuals and organizations — too many to count.
Brothers, bruhs, as individuals or as members of organizations, let’s not be silent on this. If you’re in a frat, urban garden group, pastor a church, run a business, frequent a barbershop, or gather anywhere that we gather, let’s shout to the mountaintops our support for our sister, our cousin, our daughter, our auntie, our big mama, our Queen Tiye, our Supreme Court Justice, Ketanji Brown Jackson.
Aswad Walker is the associate editor of the Houston Defender, which is part of the Word In Black collaborative.