While the US Senate grapples with Amy Coney Barretts’ confirmation hearings this week, voters would do well to turn their attention where their impact could be greatest. Our local judiciary rules on far more matters of importance to our daily lives. And for those of us mourning the loss of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, there is no better way to pay tribute to her legacy than by evaluating the qualifications of the Washington Supreme Court judicial candidates and exercising our right to vote.
As a woman, the loss of Ruth Bader Ginsburg feels overwhelmingly profound. Living in the Pacific Northwest, I often find myself searching for a ray of sun breaking through the clouds. As sunlight hits the waters of the Puget Sound, it brings a sense of anticipation for the future. A ray of hope can be found in Federal Judge Diane Humetewa, the first Native American woman and enrolled tribal member to serve as a federal judge in history. And she was one of RBG’s picks for the next nominee of the U.S. Supreme Court.
As I reflected on these momentous achievements, my thoughts settled on the many women who have been elected from the 23rd district over the last 100 years. Without a doubt, their hard work helped shape the political landscape for those serving in office today, including Senator Christine Rolfes, Senator Emily Randall, Representative Sherry Appleton, and Representative Michelle Caldier. In fact, excluding appointees, over the last 100 years, the people of the 23rd district have elected a male candidate to the Senate for 13 terms and a female candidate to the Senate for 12 terms.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed the face of education in America; however, we must minimize the profoundly adverse social, developmental, and health costs to our children. Research shows by implementing new protocols, schools can be re-opened safely and effectively.
Teachers like Mrs. Hemmersbach impact children for a lifetime and are unlikely to be forgotten. Before signing off for the last time, Mrs. H told her students that she would miss them, had high expectations for them in the future, and would see them at their senior celebration. There is little doubt she has inspired countless numbers of students to reach for the stars and many of us lucky enough to have her teach our children wish her a happy and fulfilling retirement.
Together, our community needs to support racial justice organizations, like the NAACP and the Kitsap Equity, Race and Community Engagement (ERACE) Coalition, who are fighting for meaningful change. Recently, the NAACP issued a call to action asking that “police departments ban the use of knee holds in use of force continuums.” In my opinion, the NAACP should ask for more:
Racism is the most divisive issue facing this country. The mere fact that 74 days elapsed between the lynching of Ahmaud Arbery and the arrest of the men who murdered him demonstrates how tightly racial discrimination is woven into the fabric of America. Whites becoming allies to communities and people of color is the way we can change the heart of our nation. It is time for all of us to become color brave.
In America, Blacks cannot walk (RIP Trayvon Martin,) run (RIP Arbery,) or sleep (RIP Breonna Taylor) without being shot and killed.Blackness is not the root of inequity—racism in the system is the primary problem. White Americans must acknowledge complicity in maintaining systemic racism and the epigenetic trauma it inflicts upon Black Americans. To be sure, Clifford Glover and Ahmaud Arbery have taught me the meaning of white privilege in a way I never understood before. Isn’t it past time to change the conversation about the responsibilities of holding privilege in America? My message boils down to this: we can be good, kind, loving people who have benefited from a system steeped in white supremacy and still have the humility to say—this must stop.
As a pediatrician, I am even more concerned about those students who are homeless, food insecure, or being exposed to violence more regularly at home as a result of school closure. School is the one place where children can feel safe, fed, and supported. Children with disabilities—who receive speech, language, and other therapies—have been unable to continue their specialized services at school, which are essential to foster learning and development.
First, we must stop judging women by their demeanor, personality traits or “makeup application” skills. Only when we see women as assertive instead of aggressive, dazzling instead of dominant, and enlightening instead of emotional, will women be able to take their place in the sun.