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Tucsonans react to new Supreme Court Justice

Inspired–with hope of progress to come
Posted at 8:02 PM, Apr 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-07 23:02:38-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — There’s a historic change coming to the court that decides America’s toughest issues. Thursday the Senate confirmed Federal Appeals Court Judge Katanji Brown Jackson to be a Justice on the United States Supreme Court.

Judge, soon to be Justice Katanji Brown Jackson, is a symbol of African Americans achievement. But she’s talked about how she is one step removed from the segregation her parents experienced when they went to school.

For perspective on what’s changed and what people still hope to change, we went to Dunbar pavilion—a community gathering place now, but a school segregated until the early 1950s.

Dunbar alumni say the school had a supportive atmosphere that helped students succeed but as a segregated school it still divided people from a full share of life’s opportunities. So to a Dunbar alumnus like Barbara Lewis seeing a black woman rise to the U.S. Supreme Court is a big moment.

“I'm looking forward to a time where it is all equal, and no questions. No question. Like, you're this black… but smart, Asian and you know, those stereotypes, just where everybody is equal. Things can be good, those ideas can be exchanged with no problem. That's what I hope now.”

University of Arizona Law Professor Shefali Milczarek-Desai says Judge Jackson becoming Supreme Court Justice Jackson may inspire others to follow law not just because she is a woman of color, but also because she rose to the court from a modest middle class background. But she says a judge must not allow her background to influence how she applies the law.

“So the fact that she is from a demographic that we haven't seen before on the court is inspiring to other people to become a part of the law and become a part of our solutions and our legal system. But that doesn't mean that it's going to change the way that she looks at or rules on cases.”

Back at Dunbar, program director Desiree Hammond waits for the day the achievement of a woman like Judge Katanji Brown Jackson is not unusual—but normal.

"This is our dream realized. This is our dream unfolding and coming through and this is what we want the norm to be. We want to see ourselves represented in our systems. So this is what we're fighting for. This is what we work every day for.”

Craig Smith is a reporter for KGUN 9. With more than 40 years of reporting in cities like Tampa, Houston and Austin, Craig has covered more than 40 Space Shuttle launches and covered historic hurricanes like Katrina, Ivan, Andrew and Hugo. Share your story ideas and important issues with Craig by emailing or by connecting on Facebook and Twitter.