HLAB students Gwendolyn Gissendanner (VP Membership), Courtney Brunson (President), and Kiese Hansen were featured in the recent New York Times article discussing the impact of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation to the Supreme Court of the United States. Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, a Harvard Law alumnae, became the first Black woman to serve as a justice.
Read Gwen’s inspiring feature below:
From her time growing up in a working-class community outside Detroit and working for Harvard’s student-run Legal Aid Bureau, Gwendolyn Gissendanner, 25, is acutely aware of how race and identity can affect a courtroom’s proceedings.
“We always have to think about what we need to do to make my often Black low-income clients appeal to a white judge who doesn’t understand their experience,” she said. “But someone who you don’t have to take the extra leap to prove to them that race interacts with every aspect of your life makes a giant difference in what types of decisions can be made.”
She added, “I think of the Supreme Court as such an inaccessible beacon, and the idea that someone who reflects my own identity is going to be in that space is kind of — I don’t even know if I’ve fully processed that yet.”