Thursday, July 16, 2009
"And I'm from the South Bronx, so I was like 'yo! g'ahead Miss Sonia'"
Need I say more to express how most New Yorkers feel about our homegirl Sonia Sotomayor's fearless performance at this week's Senate hearings? "Barring a meltdown" - she is slated to become the first Latina to be seated on the Supreme Court. Holla back, I love it!
The quote which serves as the title of today's post came from a receptionist whom I was chatting with in between appointments yesterday. And there are more bon mots that have been delivered by of our city's overlooked residents - those who don't have a New York Times or Wall Street Journal folded under their arms or tucked between the handles of their Goyard totes - to describe their elation over seeing someone they can relate to in a position of power. What I love about this week's proceedings is how INVOLVED mi gente, my people, are in the political process. The past two years have been the ultimate civics lesson for blacks and latinos who otherwise didn't really give a damn about politics.
What I like about President Obama's nominee is that she's not looking to give people of color a free pass. She's holding everyone accountable to the standards of the law and of working-class ambition. She's a staunch believer in the possibility of American citizenship and the responsibility that places on everyone - blanquitos or not - to be our very best selves. That's why she locked up three Puerto Rican guys for a shoot-out in a Lower East Side housing project - only one of them had a gun but she thought they all posed a threat to the community - and that's why her early college years were focused on figuring out why minority youths got into more trouble than their white counterparts. Sadly, that's a search that could occupy one, two, countless lifetimes, but the effort is there and ultimately, the would-be Supreme Court nominee decided to keep pushing for justice, and personal excellence, with the hope that her own work could somehow stem the tide of recidivism in our communities.
There hasn't been a meltdown yet, so it's probably safe to assume that we're in store for a historic appointment in the coming weeks...and once again, the standard is elevated for mi gente.