A day after the historic confirmation of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson as the first black woman to serve on the Supreme Court, high school students in Los Angeles reflected on the significance of her accomplishment and how it would affect their lives.
Superintendent of LA Schools. Alberto Carvalho met with student leaders at Panorama High School during his first visit to the school on Friday afternoon to discuss Jackson’s rise to the High Court, which will have two black judges serving for the first time in his term. story.
“Justice Jackson is a proud Miami-Dade County Public Schools alumnus, and her rise to the Supreme Court demonstrates the promise and power of a public education for our students,” Carvalho said in a statement.
Carvalho served as head of public schools in Miami-Dade County for more than a decade before starting at the LA Unified School District in February.
Panorama High houses nearly 1,400 students in Panorama City, a working-class neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley. The student body is over 90% Latino, and the majority are eligible for free and discounted lunch programs.
Carvalho said he visited several other high schools in the district and came to Panorama on Friday to “meet the students where they are.”
Carvalho and Panorama High students watched clips of Jackson’s confirmation and smiled as Vice President Kamala Harris announced the 53-47 final vote to applause from the Senate chamber.
Heaven Gershon, a senior and president of the school’s Black Student Union, said she cried when she heard the news of Jackson’s confirmation.
“I’m used to hearing mixed responses when it comes to things I want to do,” Heaven said. “Ketanji inspires me to do exactly what people say I can’t do.”
The 17-year-old said she would like to become a businesswoman one day and be her “own boss”.
Carvalho asked the students what they thought of the overwhelmingly partisan vote, with many Republican senators acknowledging Jackson’s qualifications for the job but voting no on his confirmation. Three GOP senators voted yes.
Stepphonie White said she was “linked to [Jackson] in many ways.
Stephanie, 17, is a vice president of the Black Student Union, a student council member, and a competitor in the college decathlon.
“Being African American, I feel like we always go the extra mile and surpass [for] our success,” said Stepphonie. She is excited to attend Xavier University of Louisiana, a historically black college, in the fall.
Jackson will be sworn in this summer, when retired Justice Stephen G. Breyer steps down at the end of the court’s current term.
Her confirmation hearings were marred by attacks from Republican lawmakers on her conviction record, her religious beliefs and even the definition of “woman.” She shares Ivy League background with other judges, but will be the first former federal public defender on the court.
“It took 232 years and 115 prior nominations for a black woman to be selected to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States,” Jackson said. “But we made it – all of us.”
“In my family,” the Harvard alum added, “it only took a generation to go from segregation to the Supreme Court of the United States.”
Carvalho told students he had met Jackson and would use all his ‘political juice’ to bring her to Los Angeles, joking that he might name a school after her to entice her to come – referring at the Sotomayor Arts and Sciences Magnet Schools named after Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
Jackson’s father, Johnny Brown, was an attorney for the Miami-Dade school board, and his mother, Ellery Jackson, was the principal of the New World School of the Arts in the school district.
Panorama’s student body president Jasmin Zamora, 17, said she also wants to pursue law and politics after high school — maybe not to join the Supreme Court herself, but “at least [to] be at a level where I can graduate from college and do something with my life.
Jackson “is what we’re looking for — she represents all of us as a whole, minorities, women of color,” Jasmin said.