Delaying Loretta Lynch's Senate confirmation doesn't just affect Lynch—it's a dig at Black women everywhere.
Like Loretta Lynch, I joined America’s largest Black sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated (Delta). Like Loretta Lynch, I was deeply involved in the National Black Law Student Association during my law school tenure. Like Loretta Lynch, I know what it feels like to be judged according to what you look like versus what you bring to the table. And like Loretta Lynch, I am fed up.
On November 8, 2014, President Barack Obama nominated Loretta Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, to succeed Eric Holder as Attorney General of the United States. On February 26, 2015, the Judiciary Committee of the U.S. Senate confirmed her appointment in a 12-8 vote. Yet despite her experienced background and bipartisan agreement that Lynch is eminently qualified for the position, her nomination remains stalled in the Senate.
Loretta Lynch should be the next Attorney General of the United States and the delay of her appointment is deeply personal to me. When a Black woman rises to any level of national prominence in the United States, people notice. People notice because Black women have historically been placed at the “bottom of the rung.” Dealing with daily systematic racial and gender roadblocks is no easy task.
However, Delta taught us that “intelligence is the torch of wisdom” and if one works hard focusing on sisterhood, scholarship, and service; success and satisfaction would be achieved. Loretta Lynch is my sister and it is incumbent on me to make sure her nomination is confirmed. She means too much to marginalized groups of people in every corner of the United States. She’s the granddaughter of a rural North Carolina sharecropper who helped move people out of the Jim Crow South in the 1930’s. Her mother once picked cotton to earn money for college. Loretta Lynch was born out of America’s dark past and because of this, she is uniquely poised to make her mark in a time when young Black men and women are being targeted by law enforcement on a daily basis.
She speaks to young Black women like myself and reminds us that, if she can achieve all of the successes that she has, then so can we. America is uniquely positioned to make a groundbreaking statement with her appointment. In a country where Black women still make only .64 cents to every dollar a White man makes, Loretta Lynch leading the Justice Department is timely and necessary.
Senators cannot speak to any legitimate reasons as to why Lynch has not been confirmed, and some have outright stated that they won’t call her vote unless President Obama acquiesces to their demands. Is this the best that we can do America? Is this the story that I will tell my children? Does America really want to be responsible for denying an overly qualified Black woman the top Justice Department position because of political maneuvering and prejudicial biases?
It’s been over five months since President Obama nominated Loretta Lynch. No other Attorney General in U.S. history has had to wait this long. The Senate must perform the duties that its members were elected to do and confirm Lynch instead of using her nomination as ammunition for further bickering and partisan politicking. If they don’t, they’ll be turning their back on every marginalized person who’s every worked hard to achieve their dreams. They’ll be turning their back on me.