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It’s Time for a Black Woman on the Supreme Court 

Fortunately, there are plenty of Black women who represent the values of the civil rights community and are ready to serve.

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United States Supreme Court Building/ Wikimedia Commons

I am eager to see a brilliant Black woman serving as a U.S. Supreme Court justice. I hope to celebrate her swearing-in later this year.

If you’re thinking, “Did I miss something?” the answer is no, there is no vacancy on the Court right now.

But there has been talk that Justice Stephen Breyer, who is 82 years old, might step down after the current Supreme Court term ends in June.

Some activists and legal scholars are encouraging Breyer to step down now. That would give President Joe Biden a chance to fulfill his campaign promise to name a Black woman to the high court. And it would let a Biden nominee be considered by a Senate that is not controlled by Republicans.

Never forget that when Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell was majority leader, he abused his power to slow-walk President Barack Obama’s judicial nominees. And he refused to allow the Senate to even consider Obama’s Supreme Court nomination of Merrick Garland, leaving a seat vacant for more than a year.

That same McConnell did everything he could to pack the courts with right-wing judges during the Trump administration—including a third Trump Supreme Court justice who was rammed through the Senate just days before voters turned Trump out of office. Those Trump judges threaten the legal legacy of the first Black person to serve on the Supreme Court, the brilliant Justice Thurgood Marshall. And that threatens all of us.

As a Marylander with deep roots in Baltimore, I am proud that a native son of that great city was the first Black justice on our country’s highest court. As a lifelong civil rights activist, I am grateful that a strategist for the civil rights movement was given the opportunity to advance equality under law as a Supreme Court justice. 

As a Black man and father of Black children, I am thankful for the ways that Marshall changed history. And I am deeply committed to defending those changes at a time when they are under attack.

The threat to our lives, and to a multiracial, multiethnic democratic society, does not just come from violent white supremacists or abusive cops. It comes from Republican politicians whose response to high Black voter turnout in 2020 is to make it harder for many of us to vote. And it comes from judges who dismiss evidence of systemic racism and uphold voter suppression.

What better time to have a powerful Black woman on the high court as a voice for truth and accountability?

That is especially true now that another civil rights champion, the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, has left the court, and been replaced by a justice who does not share her values. We need someone to fill the shoes of both Marshall and Ginsburg, two of the most transformative lawyers in our nation’s history.

Fortunately, there are plenty of Black women who represent the values of the civil rights community and are ready to serve.

Black women lawyers are fighting for civil rights every day. Black women scholars are expanding our understanding of systemic racism and its impact on all of us. Black women strategists are defending voting rights. Black women activists are building coalitions and electing politicians who are committed to defending our rights and our communities.

Candidate Joe Biden demonstrated his recognition of the importance of Black women when he chose Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate. And he excited many of us with his promise to name a Black woman to the Supreme Court. The American people made Biden president and made Harris the first woman, first Black person, and first Asian American to serve as vice president.

I am looking forward to working with President Biden to confirm to the Supreme Court a phenomenal Black woman who will champion the values of freedom, justice, opportunity, and equality at a time when they urgently need champions.

It will be a relief to see her take her seat. And it will be glorious.

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Activism

Oakland Post: Week of June 12-18, 2024

The printed Weekly Edition of the Oakland Post: Week of June 12-18, 2024

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Bay Area

Grieving & Growing: A Healing Garden in West Oakland Is Helping Bereaved Loved Ones Glow Again

As a natural order of the human condition, we cannot escape death. Akin to life and living, death and dying are a part of our journey as spiritual beings having a human experience here on Earth. One thing we know for certain is that we will all lose someone we love or someone who loves us. And, yet still, as natural as death is, the pain and sorrow we endure when losing loved ones is beyond compare and often ridden with heaviness, regret, despair, confusion, guilt, and self-blame.

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Courtesy of Chanae Pickett
Courtesy of Chanae Pickett

By Chanae Pickett

As a natural order of the human condition, we cannot escape death.

Akin to life and living, death and dying are a part of our journey as spiritual beings having a human experience here on Earth. One thing we know for certain is that we will all lose someone we love or someone who loves us. And, yet still, as natural as death is, the pain and sorrow we endure when losing loved ones is beyond compare and often ridden with heaviness, regret, despair, confusion, guilt, and self-blame.

And when our loved ones are taken from us before their predestined time as a result of excessive use of police force, gun violence, homicide, suicide, among other unanticipated traumatic encounters, our shock, bereavement, and grief reactions become compounded, exacerbated and challenging to weather.

Is it possible to heal from the suffering that comes with grief and loss, which often feels endless, cyclical, and labyrinthine? Is there a way out? A way through grief?

While serving as a Psychiatric and Psychological Care Specialist in the United States Air Force, I evaluated, counseled, and intervened with patients at the Travis Air Force Base who were deemed a danger to themselves and others. These experiences profoundly shaped my understanding of mental health.

Despite my background as a Mental Health Technician, the sudden loss of my younger brother to suicide following our father’s unjustified killing by police while unarmed with his hands up in a church parking lot left me with feelings of professional failure and personal shame. These tragedies forced me to reevaluate my priorities, leading me to focus more on making a genuine difference in grief processing, community building, and communal healing.

Driven by my brother Immanuel aka Apollo’s artistic legacy, ancestral guidance, and our shared grief, my family and I founded the Long Live Love Foundation in West Oakland’s “Ghost Town” on June 13, 2020, to honor our dearly departed.

For, the love we hold for our ancestors lives long and for all time. Using my brother’s music and message of love as guiding principles, our missions are to offer a safe supportive communal healing space for those coping with loss and to empower survivors through indigenous, holistic and alternative restorative tribal ministry practices and vital resources.

One of our cornerstone projects is our Long Live Love Healing Garden. A sanctuary for healing, this serene space hosts wellness weekends, drum circles, yoga, and various events, offering solace and respite for those navigating grief and celebrating life.

This year I’ll be the Master of Ceremonies for our much-anticipated 5th Annual Apollo Carter Legacy Weekend on June 8th and 9th in which performers and artists from all walks of life unite for a celebratory weekend overflowing with music, poetry, spoken word, song, dance, and other performing arts. Our Open Mic Stage is a magnet for talented artists eager to express themselves, their hearts, and their spirits, beckoning them to dazzle the community with their unique gifts.

RonKat Spearman of Parliament Funkadelic will be blessing our stage on Sunday, June 9th, as well as other local bands. We’ll be spreading the joy further by gifting the community with fresh, organic fruits and vegetables courtesy of Oasis Community Farm. It’s a celebration of talent, community, and wholesome goodness! To buy a ticket, sign up to perform, donate, join us in our mission, and learn more about our work and how you can support our cause, visit us at longlivelovefoundation.com.

About the Author

Chanae Pickett is co-founder of the Long Live Love Foundation in West Oakland.

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Commentary

Opinion: Will Verdicts Help Black Voters See the Truth?

The news of Trump’s historic 34 guilty verdicts are about a week old. Has it sunk in that the man who insists on being the Republican nominee for president is the former president known officially as CFDT34? If the name sounds like a dangerous radioactive isotope, it is — to our democracy.

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CFDT34 is my coinage of a new acronym that we all should adopt. It’s shorthand for “Convicted Felon Donald Trump,” with 34 being the number of criminal counts of guilt.
CFDT34 is my coinage of a new acronym that we all should adopt. It’s shorthand for “Convicted Felon Donald Trump,” with 34 being the number of criminal counts of guilt.

By Emil Guillermo

The news of Trump’s historic 34 guilty verdicts are about a week old.

Has it sunk in that the man who insists on being the Republican nominee for president is the former president known officially as CFDT34?  If the name sounds like a dangerous radioactive isotope, it is — to our democracy.

CFDT34 is my coinage of a new acronym that we all should adopt. It’s shorthand for “Convicted Felon Donald Trump,” with 34 being the number of criminal counts of guilt.

We need to say CFDT34 aloud as a constant reminder. Too many Americans are in denial. Or just lying.

Especially, CFDT34 himself.

Trump insists it’s all a “fascist” witch hunt, but the verdicts were based on an avalanche of evidence. The defense failed to refute the statements of the National Enquirer’s David Pecker who admitted his role in the Trump campaign to catch, then kill, stories that threatened Trump’s candidacy.

The defense didn’t even attempt to explain Hope Hicks, an ally who delivered the damning testimony that Trump knew about the arrangement to pay off Daniels. Hicks was in tears telling the truth. The defense never countered.

And then there were the checks and invoices and ledger entries, that spelled out the whole scheme. The payments were lies, called “lawyer fees” but they really were reimbursements to attorney Michael Cohen who had used his own money to pay off Daniels.

Minor stuff? Not when done with the intent to violate election law. The payoff was intended to influence the election and it became an illegal campaign contribution as well.

And the hero is New York District Attorney Alvin Bragg, the African American man who led the prosecution. Bragg got justice for all voters denied the truth in 2016.

Contrast Bragg with Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), and Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla). the key African Americans lying for CFDT34.

Scott and Donalds lack the courage to honor the rule of law. Rigged case, they say.  Never should have been prosecuted. Where was the crime?

All of it baloney.

Prior to the historic verdicts, there was some historic polling.

Black voters were seen as abandoning Democrats, with Biden scoring just 70% of the vote. Four years ago, Biden was at 81%.

CNN called the pre-verdict polling the best results for the GOP among Black voters since Nixon.

The age breakdown is more telling. Black voters aged 50 and up were about 85% for Biden. Those who recalled civil rights battles were holding steady for Democrats.

Among Black voters under age 50, a new divide was revealed.  A reported average of polls showed young Blacks were 27% for Trump, with Biden at 64%.

Nearly a third of young Blacks were for Trump prior to the verdicts. But what would young Blacks think now? Would they back a person like Trump, a man who comes with racist baggage like the Central Park 5 saga, and is now a convicted felon?

I haven’t seen new data yet. But with Biden and Harris stepping up their attention on the Black community, talking about economics and pocketbook issues, I’d expect a turnaround when young Blacks hear the lies and the overall hypocrisy among the GOP.

About the Author

Emil Guillermo, an award-winning journalist, and commentator has covered race and politics in Hawaii, California, and Washington, DC. He has worked in newspapers, TV and on radio was host of NPR’s “All Things Considered.”

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