Inspired by a Black female SCOTUS justice

Jemelleh Coes, director of teacher leadership at Mount Holyoke, talks about her hopes of having a Black female justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

President Joe Biden vowed, upon learning that Justice Stephen Breyer would be retiring from the U.S. Supreme Court, that he would appoint the first Black woman to the high court. He declared this historic representation as “long overdue.” 

The news electrified Black women across the country. Just seeing a Black woman on the court would have an immeasurable impact on people, much like seeing Barack Obama become the first Black president or Kamala Harris ascend to the vice presidency. 

Jemelleh Coes, director of teacher leadership at Professional and Graduate Education at Mount Holyoke College, talked to the Associated Press about the effect on her two daughters, ages 9 and 2. 

“I am raising them to be as bold as they can be, as thoughtful as they can be, as caring as they can be, as empowering as they can be,” said Coes. “To be able to look at other women in positions of power for them is paramount.” 

She noted how her 9-year-old had been transfixed when watching Stacey Abrams’ 2018 campaign for governor. “I see the way that they look at Black women in power,” she said. “It’s very different from the ways they look at power in general.”

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