I couldn’t bear to watch the confirmation hearings for Judge Jackson in their entirety. I wanted to, but my heart was troubled by each instance I saw of how she was treated, spoken to, and disrespected. Each day of the hearing, I’d try to watch some of the highlights and read a few articles about the day’s events to see what had transpired. I told myself that less was better to protect my mental and heart health. I needed to know what was happening but I didn’t have to know every detail. But the day that Senator Corey Booker spoke everything changed.
I called my Momma on my way home from work. We were having our usual small talk and mid week check-in conversation when she asked me if I had been keeping up with the hearing. I replied, “Somewhat. It’s just so hard to watch. I don’t know if I can take it.” That’s when Momma corrected me in a way that only she can do. She simply said, “If she can sit there and take it, we can watch it.” That hit me squarely in the heart and the gut. Momma was right. My secondary hurt was nothing compared to what Judge Jackson was enduring. From absolutely illogical and ridiculous questioning to stir the pot of divide to a complete disregard of her credentials and achievements, she was steadfast and unwavering. She responded with dignity, class, and the undeniable intellect that can never be taken away or denied, no matter how she’s treated. I was so moved and so proud of seeing someone who looks like me in that seat, and I especially loved what she said she tells young people: Persevere.
Her experience was a reminder to me, and I’m sure to many others as well. It reminded me that being first and breaking down centuries of denied opportunities is for specially chosen people. I believe that God carefully selects some of us to be publicly brave for a reason. It’s because while our accomplishments may be a part of our purpose, our purpose is so much greater than our accomplishments. What Judge Jackson has endured will pave the way a little smoother for the next candidate of color for the United States Supreme Court. How we treat each other should not rests on any affiliation other than the fact that we all belong to the human race. In the grand scheme of things, we don’t need any other knowledge of anyone to know how to treat and interact with them. Humanity is our shared experience, and that ought to be enough.
When the world feels messy, our purpose must remain clear. That’s the only way one can remain as steadfast Judge Jackson did throughout the hearing. Watching the hearings reminded me that we must not be moved by the evils of this world or some of the people in it. It is our duty to be led by our purpose, regardless of what we experience, and to remain steadfast in that sense we have that God has an intentional reason for our assignment here on earth. When we trust and focus on that, especially when we are exhausted by the actions of others who want to deny our achievements, overlook our accomplishments, and keep us in a position of inferiority, we can do what Judge Jackson said: persevere.
Momma made me realize that while I found much of the hearing to be a collective grieving experience for Black women, there was also collective joy, and the bad should never overshadow the good. I am so inspired by Judge Jackson and I know without a doubt that millions of us were watching her with the same sparkle in our eyes as her daughter in that now infamous photo taken during the hearing. We are proud. We are inspired, and we are hopeful.
Thank you Momma, and Thank you Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.
Y’all be easy,