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Dear Judge Ketanji — pronounced “kuh-tahn-jee” — Brown Jackson ’92, you are my role model. You are the embodiment of a successful Black woman and the blueprint for Black girls everywhere. You are the coalition of the strength of our Black mothers and our ancestors’ greatest pride. You are the inspiration of my Harvard experience and a pioneer for defining what Black excellence is within white America.
Dear Ketanji Brown Jackson, as an alum of Harvard, you are one of the greatest to have walked these halls. I write this with intentional and precise wording.
You are not one of the greatest Harvard has produced.
Harvard did not produce you.
Harvard was merely a stepping stone for your illustrious career and achievements. You are among the alumni that make Harvard one of the greatest universities in the world. Your presence is the very reason that so many others flock to this school. All in hopes of becoming like you.
You make this University.
Dear Ketanji Brown Jackson, our skin tone is one that incites riots. One that causes us to be murdered freely and unjustifiably. One that subjects us to experiencing three times the amount of police brutality than our white counterparts and subjects us to the constant injustice of legal processes. One that shimmers in the sunlight and protects our cells from UV rays. One that invokes creativity and creates entirely new genres of music. One made up of resilience so strong, that after years of the generational trauma we have experienced, we still hold our heads high and fight for what is ours.
Dear Ketanji Brown Jackson, as you looked into the eyes of those who despise you during your confirmation hearing, you smiled a toothy grin that made them seethe on their podiums. Your smile beamed with the aura of unrivaled and unadulterated progress. Your intelligence scared and intimidated those upon the stand who could not believe that a woman of your “background” could ever be so qualified. You proved exactly to this country just how qualified you were, and just how overqualified other Black women have to be in this country.
Dear Ketanji Brown Jackson, you are one of the most qualified Supreme Court Justices currently appointed to uplift, serve, and enforce our country’s constitution. You being exceedingly knowledgeable and experienced is of no doubt in my mind not a coincidence. Being a Black woman you know what it is like to fight for a seat at the table. You know you must be the most versed within the room to even have a mere place among the discussion in white America.
Dear Ketanji Brown Jackson, your tears shed on the Senate floor have not gone unnoticed. Your prideful posture that commands a room does not go unnoticed. Your intricately woven locs that adorn your crown and arouse feelings of prejudice in others do not go unnoticed.
The eloquent manner in which you speak your words and answer back the racist remarks circling the Senate chamber only speaks to the composition of your being. The happiness upon your face as you were confirmed for the seat as a Supreme Court Justice — which persisted even while others disrespectfully walked out — only adds to your magnificent character.
Dear Ketanji Brown Jackson, as you fought for confirmation and the court voted for you, two Republican senators arrived in casual clothing to show rebellion. But that did not deter you. You continued with your head held high, reaffirmed with the vigor of our ancestors cheering you on, and went on to make history. As a Harvard student, this only pushes me to do more. To achieve the dreams I have without hesitation even if I haven’t seen someone who looks like me do it before.
You showed me that a little Black girl from Miami inside you can go on to make history. You showed me that the little Black girl from Kentucky inside me can go on to make history.
Dear Ketanji Brown Jackson, I clapped for you and imagined being on the front row as you were being confirmed.
Dear Ketanji Brown Jackson, you are the shining fruit of our ancestors’ past suffering and will forever go down in history as a part of the definition of Black Excellence.
Dear Judge Ketanji — pronounced “kuh-tahn-jee” — Brown Jackson, you are my role model.
Kelisha M. Williams ’25, a Crimson Editorial editor, lives in Matthews Hall.
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