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May 2022


Celebrating Supreme Court Justice

Ketanji Brown Jackson


The following is an excerpt from Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson's speech following her historic confirmation to the Supreme Court.  

"It has taken 232 years and 115 prior appointments for a Black woman to be selected to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States.
But we’ve made it. We’ve made it, all of us. All of us.
And – and our children are telling me that they see now, more than ever, that, here in America, anything is possible. 

They also tell me that I’m a role model, which I take both as an opportunity and as a huge responsibility. I am feeling up to the task, primarily because I know that I am not alone. I am standing on the shoulders of my own role models, generations of Americans who never had anything close to this kind of opportunity but who got up every day and went to work believing in the promise of America, showing others through their determination and, yes, their perseverance that good – good things can be done in this great country – from my grandparents on both sides who had only a grade-school education but instilled in my parents the importance of learning, to my parents who went to racially segregated schools growing up and were the first in their families to have the chance to go to college.

I am also ever buoyed by the leadership of generations past who helped to light the way: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Justice Thurgood Marshall, and my personal heroine, Judge Constance Baker Motley.
They, and so many others, did the heavy lifting that made this day possible. And for all of the talk of this historic nomination and now confirmation, I think of them as the true pathbreakers. I am just the very lucky first inheritor of the dream of liberty and justice for all."

Congratulations, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. 

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Attacks on Voting Rights Continue
image: iStock
In late March, the Supreme Court dealt another "inexplicable blow" to the Voting Rights Act, this time in Wisconsin. "Wisconsin Legislature v. Wisconsin Elections Commission is an unusual case. It arose because the state’s Democratic governor and GOP-controlled legislature could not agree on new maps following the 2020 census." The new map, created by utilizing a "least change" rule, kept the current Republican gerrymander, but increased the number of majority-Black districts in Milwaukee from six to seven. After the new map was approved by the Wisconsin Supreme Court, Republicans appealed, arguing that it constituted an illegal “21st-century racial gerrymander.” And SCOTUS agreed. In Justice Sotomayor's dissent, joined by Justice Kagan, she explained how this decision is “unprecedented,” “extraordinary,” and “unnecessary.”

This is just the latest in attacks on voting rights. Here are seven states to watch, like Arizona, Michigan, and Texas, as dozens of bills introduced in 2021 have rolled over into the 2022 legislative session. The Brennan Center for Justice collected a Voting Laws Roundup in February. They cover restrictive voting legislation and bills designed to undermine the electoral process. A silver lining from this report finds at least 32 states have introduced hundreds of bills that expand voting access, like access to mail voting, easier voter registration, voting rights restoration, and expanding access for voters with disabilities.

Talk to your lawmakers about how important fair maps and access to the polls are to you!
Returning to the Roots:
Food Sovereignty and the Struggle for Justice
Recently, The Nonprofit Quarterly held a seminar called Remaking the Economy: Organizing for Black Food Sovereignty. This hour-long talk brought together Darnell Adams of Firebrand Consulting Cooperative, Dr. Jasmine Ratliff from the National Black Food and Justice Alliance, and Malik Yakini from the Detroit Black Food Security Network to discuss organizing for food sovereignty in the Black community rooted in the gifts and talents from the Black community.

In an excerpt from the talk, Yakani states, "I would say in terms of what are some of the key elements of a healthy food system, one would be fair and just policy...And also, easy access to those foods by people, regardless of their so-called race, income, or zip code...Secondly, a healthy food system would have a farming philosophy and practice that honors the earth—and is both sustainable and regenerative…Practices that honor, respect, protect, and fairly pay workers within the food system at all levels...And finally, a food system that is fair and just would honor the cultural traditions of Africans, Indigenous people, and others, whose cultural knowledge has been suppressed by the system of white supremacy."

Here in the Chicago area, we have several organizations fighting for healthy food systems:

We Sow We Grow: The We Sow We Grow Project is dedicated to the furtherance of gardening and farming in an urban landscape through education and service. Fresh fruits and vegetables are possible to grow for all and we seek to remove the fear and reservations of growing your own food through community-powered assistance in an urban ag safe space. We seek to connect growers from all over on any and every level.

Growing Home: We believe everyone deserves to have a good job, and everyone deserves to eat well. When communities have access to healthy food options, the overall well-being and health of the residents improves. With economic resources and physical health, neighbors are more able to participate in the rejuvenation of their community.

Forty Acres Fresh Market: Pop-up market offering fresh, affordable food. Fresh Food for All: Because every hood should be healthy.

If you're not in the Chicago area, and you know of a local organization fighting for food sovereignty in your area, let us know!


Japanese American Internment During WWII

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage month, a time to learn about and celebrate AAPI history and contributions to our nation. President Jimmy Carter started a week-long celebration during the first week of May 1978, and over the years, it has stretched to a celebration for the whole month.
An often-overlooked part of our nation’s history is the internment of Japanese American citizens during World War II. Shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor, over 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry, mostly those living on the Pacific Coast, were forcibly moved from their homes and taken to concentration camps throughout the American west. California defined the “Japanese race” as anyone with 1/16th or more Japanese ancestry, but the architect of the program, Colonel Karl Bendetsen, went farther and stated anyone with “one drop of Japanese blood” should be interred. This terminology and defining of “race” is lifted directly from the designation of people with African ancestry central to the foundation and justification of slavery.
To learn more about this period of American history, check out Setsuko’s Secret: Heart Mountain and the Legacy of the Japanese American Incarceration by Shirley Ann Higuchi, and visit the website of the Topaz Museum, a former internment camp-turned-museum in Delta, Utah. And if you’d like to take direct action, tell Congress to pass the Japanese American Confinement Education Act.
Looking for Volunteer Leaders: 
Social Media Management

TiBA is looking for help managing our Facebook operations. If you are social media savvy and would like to become more involved with our organization, please contact us. We would love for you to join our team of Volunteer Leaders!
For more information, visit our website or follow us on Facebook.
If you have any questions or would like to become more involved, send us an email!
Copyright © 2022 Together is Better Alliance, NFP, All rights reserved.

The TiBA Board of Directors is:
Pres. Sharon Hatchett, Esq., Vice-Pres. Xcylur Stoakley, Treas. Tom Denio, Sec. Bruce Bondy, June Furlan, Dr. Raquel Farmer-Hinton, Van Gilmer, & Mae Smith.

Our mailing address is:
3835 N. Kildare Ave.
Chicago, IL 60641

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