Ketanji Brown Jackson’s appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court is monumental because she is a Black woman who has exhibited compassion and measured restraint in the administration of justice—neither of which are required by law, it’s sad to say. Her rulings, therefore, highlight the life-altering discretion those in power have to use the justice system to redeem, not to avenge. This itself should give us pause in this historic moment.
Justice Brown Jackson ascended to the highest court in the land because she is intelligent and hard-working, because she is steady and patient, because she has been strategic in the face of the many -isms that make it nearly impossible for a Black woman to keep her head up and retain values that support the well-being of the most vulnerable in our nation.
With her historic appointment, let us imagine a justice system that equally serves every single citizen regardless of race or class, status or affiliation. Imagine the entirety of the justice system upholding one’s dignity regardless of political, social or religious pressures. Imagine the promise for well-being and safety in BIPOC communities.
As we swell with pride about Justice Brown Jackson’s past accomplishments and the promise of what her appointment can mean for the administration of justice in this country, we must also commit to what each of us can do locally, regionally and nationally to ensure that more and more Black and Brown girls and young women can see and experience wellness—enough to ascend to whatever heights they aspire to. Enough so that compassion, dignity and restraint shape and determine the rule of law, and that justice, fairness and equity become the norm for us all.