Ketanji Brown Jackson Inaugurated as First Black Woman on U.S. Supreme Court
Agence France Presse
The first Black woman to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court, Ketanji Brown Jackson, was inaugurated on Sept. 30, at a ceremony in Washington attended by President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
Jackson, who was nominated to the top court by Biden, will be part of a progressive minority in the body that decides some of the most important social and legal issues in the United States.
But the 52-year-old may find her hands largely tied by the conservative majority of six justices — three of whom were appointed by Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump.
That majority has wielded its power in recent months, overturning the constitutional right to abortion and strengthening gun rights.
Jackson was chosen at the end of February by Democrat Biden, who promised during his campaign to appoint the first African American woman to the highest judicial institution in the country.
She replaced Justice Stephen Breyer, 84, who retired.
Despite acute polarization surrounding the court, her Senate confirmation process went smoothly, and her arrival does not change the balance of power on the bench.
Brandi Grayson win Community Choice Award for Social Justice Leader of the Year
Longtime community advocate and activist Brandi Grayson, founder and CEO of Urban Triage, is this year’s winner of the Wisconsin Leadership Community Choice Award for Social Justice Leader of the Year.
Brandi Grayson is the proud mother of three daughters, 28, 27, 22, and a 5-year-old son. She’s worn many hats over the last 20 years. From a treatment foster parent to an adoptive parent, to a community organizer, a comedian, and a radio talk show host to an assistant social worker.
Many know her work with the Young Gifted and Black Coalition (YGB), which she co-founded in 2014 in response to the murder of Mike Brown, and most recently, her leadership as CEO of Urban Triage following the murder of George Floyd.
Grayson embodies what she stands for: supporting healthy Black families, transformative justice & education, integrity, breakthroughs, and Black liberation, bringing decades of experience working with Black families and children and program development and implementation while simultaneously experiencing the intersectionality of Black vulnerability. Leading her to found and ground her work in creating a better world and understanding that a better world starts with self: self-awareness, accountability, integrity, self-discovery, and the will to heal.
Misty Copeland Launches Foundation to Promote Diversity in Dance Education
Misty Copeland is leaping into her next great adventure. The accomplished dancer has launched The Misty Copeland Foundation, a new non-profit organization.
“The Misty Copeland Foundation aims to support community-based opportunities to explore dance, especially programs that engage young girls and boys of color; advance the art form of ballet through greater diversity, equity, and inclusion; and pursue social justice through arts activism,” she explained to EBONY.
Returning to her roots, Copeland has partnered with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. “Using my own personal experiences with the Boys & Girls Clubs, starting out in a free ballet class, I’ve created our first program, which is called ‘Be Bold,’” Copeland shared at a private VIP party hosted by Breitling at their flagship store in midtown Manhattan. Copeland is part of the Swiss luxury watch brand’s “Spotlight Squad,” which focuses on women striving to change the world. “It’s an after-school dance program that’s being offered at five different Boys & Girls Clubs in the Bronx, [N.Y.].”
Stressing that the program is much greater than finding the next prodigy, “Ballet offers leadership development,” Copeland declared. “It’s about giving these children the opportunity to be a part of a discipline, to be to be around live music, to utilize their bodies, to start to build the tools to be able to be leaders in their communities.”
Sharing the importance of creating The Misty Copeland Foundation, the prima ballerina declared, “After 20-plus years as a professional dancer not only striving to climb the ranks within ballet but also working to create more access and opportunity for Black and brown people, I felt that beyond being a presence and representation on the stage, starting a foundation could be the true community work necessary and impactful to see systemic change.”
Copeland, who made history as the first African American female principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre, gave one world-renowned superstar notable due for helping to kick off her illustrious career.
It’s Never Too Late to Pivot From NFL Safety to Neurosurgeon
The New York Times
It had been one month without football for Myron Rolle, an N.F.L. safety, and he was foundering. Mr. Rolle was just 25, and his pro football career looked grim: He was released in 2011 after three unremarkable seasons with the Tennessee Titans and had failed in his attempt to make the Pittsburgh Steelers’ roster. Without the structure and rigor of a football career, he struggled to make sense of what would come next.
Mr. Rolle had always had a Plan B. He had been a hot-tempered kid, but at 11, his older brother, Marshawn, gave him a copy of “Gifted Hands,” Dr. Ben Carson’s popular 1990 memoir that detailed how Dr. Carson went from being an inner-city youth with poor grades to the director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University Hospital.
After reading it, Mr. Rolle stopped beating up classmates who called him racist slurs or made fun of his Bahamian immigrant parents and started chasing two dreams — being a pro football player and becoming a neurosurgeon like Dr. Carson.
He flourished playing as a defensive back for Florida State, where he was selected to be a Rhodes Scholar in 2009. Though he studied medical anthropology at Oxford as part of the program, Mr. Rolle said his neurosurgeon dream was “dormant” while he pursued football glory. In England, he trained for the N.F.L. draft and was selected by the Titans in 2010.
But Mr. Rolle’s football dream did not go as planned. Today, he is Dr. Rolle, and at 35, he is in the sixth year of his neurosurgery residency at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. “Those words of encouragement, her belief in me, her thoughtfulness, her disposition during that moment was just what I needed, just what I needed to move forward to the next chapter in my life,” he said.