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Virginians reflect on Ketanji Brown Jackson confirmation: 'Thank you for pressing forward'

Ketanji Brown Jackson
Posted at 10:16 PM, Apr 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-08 16:28:50-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- April 7, 2022, marked a historic day in the Senate and in the United States as Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson was confirmed as the first Black woman to the Supreme Court.

"I'm just excited that this has happened and I just have an overwhelming sense of hope and pride in her and in our country," Judge Birdie Hairston-Jamison said.

The monumental moment isn't lost on Judge Hairston-Jamison. She is a retired judge who served for nearly 25 years on the bench in Virginia's 13th judicial district.

"When I first became a lawyer in Virginia in 1982, I was back in private practice in Roanoke. There were no women and no Black judges at all. Only older white gentlemen. So just seeing the diversity now and understanding that this wonderful judge will become the first African American judge on the Supreme Court is just amazing to me," Hairston-Jamison said.

Hairston-Jamison was sitting in the Senate chambers on the first day of the confirmation hearings for Judge Jackson.

"The overwhelming feeling I had was just a sense of pride, just understanding that she was going to be such a positive role model for other little Black and Brown girls but also for all little girls," Hairston-Jamison said.

State delegate Delores McQuinn found herself glued to the television on Thursday, overcome with joy as she and her eight-year-old granddaughter shared in the historic moment.

"And as she was watching, I was taking pictures of her watching because I want her to understand again, and she may not understand to the fullest degree today, but she watched history in the making. It was just a very proud moment."

McQuinn said she's using this moment to share with young people what happens when you work hard, know your worth and stand on your faith. She believes it's a defining moment for African American women around the world.

"We are often challenged and we are always questioning our confidence and our competency. This confirmation sent a very clear message once again, it proves that we, too, are Americans. Thank you for pressing forward. Thank you for persevering. Thank you for keeping your eyes on the prize because you then become a role model for young people," McQuinn said.

During Thursday's confirmation, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson watched from the White House with President Biden.

She will be officially sworn in as the 116th Supreme Court Justice this summer.

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