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An Overdue Welcome to our First African American Supreme Court Justice, The Honorable Ketanji Brown

A special moment captured by Sarahbeth Maney with Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson and her daughter Leila

Welcoming April flowers, Spring Showers, attending Easter Sunday church service and celebrating Earth Day and Poetry Month have been incredibly festive times in my life for as far back as I can remember…eating colored easter eggs, making arts and crafts from recycled goods and reading poems that spread joy in the world will continue to be practiced rituals for my family and I. However, on April 7th, 2022, a bipartisan Senate confirmed Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination as the first African American female Judge to the Supreme Court of the United States of America and this will now be my forever favorite April, Spring 2022 memory moving forward.

Two other forever favorite moments in my life were the healthy birth and delivery of my nephew Frederick in April 2006 and my niece Syla in March 2007 who both ushered in a renewed kind of hope, health and promise after the loss of my little brother to a homicide only a month before Frederick’s arrival (his son).

Being able to witness something that changes, impacts and shifts the way you live and exist in the world is always profound and noteworthy. The grip of that witnessed experience is determined by many factors such as age, gender, ethnicity, level of education, current events, values, beliefs and the personal that shape you. An example is when I learned about the historical appointment of the first Black person Judge Thurgood Marshall in elementary school, it made me very proud. Recalling the ground breaking presidential run of Shirley Chisholm for the democratic party in 1972 was empowering to learn about as a Black youth. Then there are the heavy lifters, ceiling shattering, dreams fillers who made those debuts in a dignified and historical way, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice as the first African American Secretary of States, President Barack and Michelle Obama as the first Black Family and leaders of the free world and now Ms. Kamala Harris as the first Black and Woman Vice President in this nation’s history. Regardless of their political points of views or personal philosophies, their uncharted placements are absolutely amazing for African American History and the future.

Dr. Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination is a new milestone and I am too excited, enthusiastic and emotional to fully put into words how her role will impact my life as a Black woman. She has expressed her goal as a newly appointed Supreme Court Justice to maintain a passion for thoughtfulness, integrity, honor and principle and she is committed to leading with wisdom, grace and joy. She acknowledged her daughters Talia and Leila as key motivators for wanting to excel in this new position- and added a quote from Dr. Maya Angelou – “I am the dream and the hope of the slave.” And in her words, “this moment (in history) means so much to the hope and promise of America, it has taken 232 years, 115 prior appointments for a Black Woman to be selected to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States, but we’ve made it!”

To this I say, welcome again Your Honor and let’s keep climbing!

Thank you,


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