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MISSSEY Celebrates Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson

MISSSEY Celebrates Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson

We are excited to celebrate Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation to the US Supreme Court. This ascendance by the first Black woman to ever be named a Supreme Court Justice is a reminder of the promise and excellence that thrives in our communities. Ketanji Brown Jackson represented her clients as a defense lawyer within the justice system and now she is representing promise and possibilities for Black women everywhere. This is a powerful statement to those who deny that the voices, needs, and abilities of Black women, femmes, and gender-expansive folks matter.  


Today Jackson quoted poet Maya Angelou: “I am the dream and the hope of the slave.” It is a beautiful refrain and a heart wrenching reminder of dreams deferred.  At MISSSEY we believe that young girls and gender-expansive youth should be defined by their strengths, passions, and ambitions;  not by the trauma they have endured. We know that so many dreams can be derailed by the experience of assault and the hard road towards healing. Even without the experience of an assault there are many barriers that stand in the way of Black femmes and gender-expansive youth’s success. President Biden acknowledged the “verbal abuse, the anger, the constant interruptions, the most vile, baseless assertions and accusations” that were flung at Ketanji Brown Jackson during her confirmation hearings. 

This was the case on the public stage; the afflictions that are dealt out in private are even more egregious than that. 


There is a historic precedent for this disregard for Black women. In the United States there were no laws in place to protect Black women who were enslaved from sexual assault. This remained so throughout reconstruction and the Jim Crow era. In many ways we have come a long way from that history, Jackson stated today, that in her family “it took just one generation to go from segregation to the Supreme Court of the United States.” However, statistically, African American women are much more likely to be victims of assault than white women. This is why we remain steadfast in our work: for more than 14 years, MISSSEY has provided healing and pathways out of exploitation for thousands of young people. This month also marks the 21st anniversary of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. From its beginning SAAM was about both awareness and prevention of sexual assault, harassment, and abuse. That is because It’s impossible to prevent an issue no one knows about, and it’s difficult to make people aware of a problem without providing a solution. The two work in tandem, and they always have. This is why we work every day to provide prevention training and build awareness. 


At her confirmation Jackson said, “I have dedicated my career to public service because I love this country and our Constitution and the rights that make us free.” At MISSSEY we dedicate our work to building power among young survivors and changing the conversation to focus on the root causes that lead to sexual exploitation. The work of increasing sexual assault awareness won’t end on April 30th. We will continue our efforts to boldly break the cycle of sexual exploitation and working with our allies to rid systems of the racist policies that make Black girls and gender-expansive youth vulnerable to exploitation. We will not rest until all Black girls and gender-expansive youth are safe and thriving.