Team Bayer

A Giant Step Forward


What the Investiture of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson Means to Me, by Leslie Dozier, Senior Assistant General Counsel 

Leslie Dozier


As a child, I had visions of being Wonder Woman; however, as I grew older, I realized that wasn’t a possibility and then turned my sights on being an attorney. At that time, there were no attorneys in my family, and I had no idea what an attorney did, but I saw examples of them having the ability to advocate and use their knowledge and  voice to drive change. Later I was inspired by my aunt who became the first attorney in our family and groundbreakers like Attorney General Eric Holder, Justice Thurgood Marshall, and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — attorneys who used their voices and positions to improve lives and make our country better. They pushed for equality and justice for all and challenged each of us to take an active role in driving change. I still vividly remember the day that I learned of Justice Marshall’s passing and wondering if I would ever in my lifetime see the Supreme Court reflect the diversity of our country. 


I believed that choosing a career in law along with a background in public policy provided me with the opportunity to make a difference. I also felt a tremendous responsibility to share what I’ve learned and did so by serving as a mentor in formal mentorship programs and informally. Through my position as a law professor at my alma mater, I had the opportunity to teach lawyers in the making. I have also served and continue to serve  on boards of various non-profit organizations that support and advocate for causes that are important to me, such as the Urban League of Pittsburgh Young Professionals; Woman’s Center and Shelter of Western PA Legal Fund; Vibrant Pittsburgh; and the Fund for the Advancement of Minorities Through Education. Most recently, I was inspired by the social justice work that my children were doing in our school district and decided to run for (and won) a position on the North Allegheny School District Board.  


The investiture of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court is momentous to me and a moment for celebration — as an attorney, as a woman, as a mother, and as a Black woman. Her appointment as the first Black woman to the United States Supreme Court is a  step forward for ensuring that our highest court better reflects the diversity of the  citizens of our country. 


Justice Jackson credits her passion for the law from the many hours she spent with her father as he was earning his law degree. A strong role model can make all the difference, and our country has another great role model to inspire us and shape the next generation. As Justice Jackson poignantly noted during her confirmation hearings, we encourage each other to persevere. This historic moment shows our young people — especially Black youth — that perseverance, determination, and hard work can lead to great achievements and ability to effect change. 


In the words of Dr. Maya Angelou, “I come as one, but I stand as 10,000.” I hope everyone takes a moment to celebrate this historic event and tremendous achievement. I encourage everyone to find opportunities to pay it forward to the younger generations by serving as a mentor, joining a community organization, or using your voice and efforts to break down barriers and support equity and access for all. 

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