PHOTO CREDIT: Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson testifies during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill on March 22. A commit vote is scheduled for April 4.(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)
“Persevere Through Troubled Seas”
The Statement of the Transformative Justice Coalition
Regarding the Confirmation of Judge Ketanji Brown-Jackson
The African Woman was brought to America enslaved and in bondage. One can barely imagine the African American Woman’s pain while watching her children taken from her and brought to the auction block for sale; the anguish of her knowing that there was nothing she could do to stop the separation of her baby from her; the disheartened, powerless, empty feeling she experienced in knowing the loneliness of her child being separated from her and taken to be presented, displayed and examined for purchase and sale; the powerlessness of knowing greater than 65% of the enslaved African women were raped by their white male enslavers. The anguishing pain of loneliness of the African American woman was revisited and re-lived during the Judge Ketanji Brown-Jackson confirmation hearing for Judge Brown-Jackson’s consideration to be the first African American Woman named to the Supreme Court of the United States of America.
Some will say that the parallelism of enslaved women and their children being separated, examined and sold is inappropriate and provocative. One must be mindful, however, that it was the “Gang of Five” (Senator Josh Hawley, Senator Lindsay Graham, Senator Marsha Blackburn and Senator Ted Cruz, Senator Tom Cotton) that sought to introduce and attack Judge Brown-Jackson using the book, “The 1619 Project” and its correct dissertation of American history, as a frame of reference. It was this “Gang of Five” that sought to interject Critical Race Theory into the analysis of a Supreme Court confirmation hearing, implying that an African American judge would unfairly judge non-African American people that appeared before her; it was this “Gang of Five” that sought to publicly embarrass, nay publicly lynch, the evenly tempered, highly qualified and extremely talented Judge Kentaji Brown-Jackson.
Judge Brown-Jackson, with tremendous dignity, high intellect, outstanding legal knowledge and analytical ability, was forced to undergo the indignity of having Senator Josh Hawley, Senator Lindsay Graham, Senator Marsha Blackburn, Senator Tom Cotton and Senator Ted Cruz, amongst others, casting dispersions upon her that were not only undignified, but were factually inaccurate. As Judge Brown-Jackson sat and withstood the offensive attacks, the question must be asked: where was the African American woman Senator to stand up for her; to help steel her spine; to help her navigate the hate filled infested waters of these outrageous racist attackers…the answer, there are currently no African American Women Senators elected to this body in America.
Senator Cory Booker came to the assistance of Judge Brown-Jackson after the high tempered and evil-spirited attack was over and they shared a tear filled moment. He would remind America of the violent stormy and weathered seas that Judge Ketanji Brown-Jackson had to navigate as a Black woman to arrive before shores of the U.S. Senate Judicial nominating committee as the first African American woman to be nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court. The hands of the African and African American ancestors, Senator Booker would say, were touching the shoulders of Judge Ketanji Brown-Jackson as she sat and faced the Judicial Committee and the “Gang of Five.”
The question now remains, however, how will the millions of African Americans, and supporters of a multi-cultural, multi-racial democracy, that watched the attempted lynching of this highly qualified African American woman respond to the actions of the attacking Senators.
We must respond to the “Gang of Five” in a language that they, and their supporters, clearly and unequivocally understand. We must stand up for all of the Judge Kentanji Brown-Jacksons in America. It is important that all supporters of an inclusive multi-ethnic, multi-racial democracy call Senators and demand that they confirm Judge Kentanji Brown-Jackson to the United States Supreme Court. Life ain’t been no crystal stairway for the African enslaved and brought to America, but, in solidarity with one another and those who are supporters of a true Democracy, we must Persevere! Persevere! Persevere!
We encourage you to not only call your Senator, but to call every U.S. Senator available. But, do not stop there. We encourage you to tunnel your disdain, your anger, your thirst and quest for justice to the 2022 election cycle and join an organization that is focused on registering voters. Join and actively participate in any organization that is focused on turning out voters for the next election.
There is a saying that when a Bumble Bee nest is attacked, the Bumble Bees will get agitated and fly around the attacker in a group, annoying the attacker to leave. The attacker eventually may leave, but unharmed. We encourage you to be hornets. When the hornets’ nest is attacked, the attacker will suffer painful multiple stings, that, unless the initial attacker breaks away from the hornets’ swarm, the initial attacker may not survive. If the attacker should survive, they are forever left with a painful and swelling reminder to leave the hornets alone!
We encourage you to be hornets and respond to the attacks on the Black women of America fearlessly and aggressively by going into black, brown and the communities of color to register voters and working to change the landscape of voters in America. If ever you wondered how you would respond to seeing an enslaved person being whipped and publicly humiliated as you were present and looked on, your response to the public whipping of Judge Ketanji Brown-Jackson may well serve as your guidepost. It is time to stand up and fight back with the power of the ballot!