Jotaka Eaddy was miles from the nation’s capital—she was in sunny Hawaii, in fact—but the historic Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson were too important to miss.
So, the founder/convener of #WinWithBlackWomen flew back home to D.C. to take part in a phone bank and national call-in day on Wednesday. Along with the group she convenes, fellow co-hosts included the Black Women’s Roundtable, SEIU, and the National Council of Negro Women.
They were among several dozen Black women leaders and their allies who called Senators on Wednesday urging them to confirm Jackson. It follows a series of events this week ranging from rallies outside the Supreme Court, to watch parties and visits to Capitol Hill to attend the historic hearings in person. Among those spotted in the room seated near Jackson’s parents’ Ellery and Johnny Brown, husband, daughters and friends, were D.C. power players Minyon Moore, Bishop Leah Daughtry, and several Black Congresswomen.
“I’ve spoken with many Black women in recent days and there’s not one who didn’t feel a sense of alignment with Judge Jackson,” said Eaddy, CEO of Full Circle Strategies, LLC, a social impact consulting firm. “We’re watching her with admiration, as she handles these hearings with poise, grace, integrity and character.”
Yet Eaddy and many other Black women told ESSENCE they have been dismayed by the tone of the hearings. She Will Rise, aka Sista SCOTUS, was launched by lawyers Kim Tignor, Brandi Colander, April Reign and organizer Sabriya Williams. Their goal: to help ensure the first Black woman was nominated and is confirmed to a lifetime appointment on the highest court in the land.
In a statement, they noted: “We watched in horror. A horror that was all too familiar to the lived experience of many Black women in America. A horror that exploits the best intention, effort and credentials set forth—despite all odds—to trivialize, demoralize and dehumanize our contributions to our great democracy. A horror that incessantly baited her to manifest the characterization of an “angry Black woman,” unsuccessfully.
They weren’t the only group voicing displeasure. The Black Women’s Leadership Collective is a coalition of eleven national Black women’s organizations, networks and leaders. They include Greek letter sororities, The Links, Inc., Higher Heights, Power Rising, and individual leaders who include Donna Brazile, celebrity/attorney Star Jones, political strategist Karen Finney and PR guru Rachel Noerdlinger.
The women collectively stated: “She did us and our ancestors proud. Day after day, hour after hour, Judge Jackson’s character, integrity, deep knowledge, and respect for the Constitution were eminently clear.”
Yet the women expressed, “Judge Jackson faced distortions of her record, attacks, hostility, and downright rudeness from Senate Republicans, who should be ashamed of their actions during these proceedings. The interruptions, barely coded dog whistles and disrespect mirrored the lived experience of Black women in America and serve as a reminder why representation matters and why Judge Jackson’s historic nomination is an inspiration.”
Melanie Campbell, convener of the Black Women’s Roundtable, agreed.
“Throughout this historic nomination process, the country witnessed exactly why Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson was the best choice for President Biden to nominate to serve on the highest court of the land,” said Campbell. “Over the course of the past three days, Judge Brown has displayed a mastery of the U.S. legal system, the U. S. Constitution and rule of law. She also displayed extraordinary grace, poise, and the temperament that is required to serve as the next U. S. Supreme Court Justice.”
Black Voters Matter co-founder LaTosha Brown and legal director April Albright didn’t mince words after the hearings.
“We are watching racism play out in front of our very eyes…The right wing constantly seeks to undermine our brilliance, deny our humanity, attack our character and weaponize our identity in order to assert and imply that we are less than,” the statement continued.
“But in spite of racism, we rise. We are throwing our full support behind Judge Brown Jackson, and President Biden and the Senate Democrats must continue to do the same. We are at the precipice of a historic milestone, and as we enter into a fourth day of hearings, they must do everything in their power to ensure that Judge Jackson is fully and swiftly confirmed.”