Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, It’s Her Turn

Finally, it happened and I cannot stop smiling, a Black woman was nominated to the United States Supreme Court.

I’m filled with love, pride and happiness, to paraphrase Al Green, witnessing a historic day for the United States, President Joe Biden standing alongside Vice President Kamala Harris, formally announced the nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court. It was refreshing to shed tears of delight instead of despair given the current state of world affairs.

Black people know, there is no perfect POC, the unrelenting scrutiny coupled with the expectation of inimitable qualification, experience, and stellar family stemma, is an incredibly high bar we often don’t reach. It’s not just a double standard, it’s a damn near impossible standard. Mainly because Black people know that we absorb the errors of all Black people, especially if the Black people happen to be in our family. Black people in America are historically tethered to one another in a way other groups are not. As James Baldwin wrote in one of the most important pieces of American literature, The Fire Next Time, “The American Negro is a unique creation; he has no counterpart anywhere, and no predecessors.” Black people are not monolithic, but we know damn well when we do something, whether graceful or gritty, it impacts the Black people that follow.

Today all Americans should take pride in Ketanji Brown Jackson. She exemplifies what America should be – fucking awesome. This nation must stop benching its “best and brightest” and allow the country to truly soar.

America was introduced to a relatable, insightful, discerning future Supreme Court Justice in Ketanji Brown Jackson. President Biden honored his pledge to appoint a Black woman to the highest court in the land without hesitation. Thus far, a hand full of Republicans have stated they will actually meet with Ketanji Brown Jackson, bless their hearts, we will wait to see what they actually do. Far too many Black people have experienced a “Rooney Rule interview” where we are just an obligatory box to check for optics, and to some degree, for their personal penance to avoid facing their own private penalty, satisfying the need to feel like they tried, or at least look like they did publicly.

President Biden did not play games with his pledge. He stepped up to the plate, pointed to the stands, and nominated Ketanji Brown Jackson. Yes, I realize I’m mixing sports metaphors, but that is just what the Supreme Court and the United States needs, a mixture that reflects the combination of human beings and experiences that make up this incredible nation. We must combine all the talents America has in order to unify, living up to the dignity our Republic is capable of.

On a personal note, last night I listened to Nina Simone’s Tomorrow Is My Turn, in an effort to somehow channel, “That elusive ray of light that will lead to happiness,” in Ms. Simone’s song. Well, today is Ketanji Brown Jackson’s turn, and I could not be happier. Tethered or not, it feels like her turn is our turn too. Still can’t stop smiling.

Tomorrow Is My Turn – Nina Simone

Though some may reach for the stars
Others will end behind bars
What the future has in store no one ever knows before
Yet, we would all like the right to find the key to success
That elusive ray of light that will lead to happiness

Tomorrow is my turn
No more doubts, no more fears
Tomorrow is my turn
When my luck is returning
All these years, I’ve been learning to save fingers from burning

Tomorrow is my turn
No more doubts no more fears
Tomorrow is my turn to receive without giving
Make life worth living
Now it’s my life I’m living
And my only concern for tomorrow is my turn

Whenever summer is gone, there’s another to come
You can’t stop years drifting by, even if you want to try
Though time may help you forget all that has happened before
But honey, it’s too late to regret, what is gone will be no more

Tomorrow is my turn.

Songwriters: Charles Aznavour / Marcel Stellman / Yves Stephane. Tomorrow Is My Turn lyrics © Les Ed. French Music.

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