The Squad comes to Somerville

Ella Wilczek, '25

This past Saturday, Rep. Ayanna Pressley (MA), Rep. Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez (NY), Rep. Ilhan Omar (MN), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (MI), and Rep. Cori Bush (MS) gathered together at the Somerville Theater for a panel conversation.

During the conversation, moderated by historian and writer Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, the representatives spoke on a number of issues important to them, including student debt relief, accessibility of clean water, and prison abolition.

Kendi is the founding director of the Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University.

The five representatives comprise "the Squad" of a few allied members of the House of Representatives. All are women of color, most of them elected to office in 2018. The group has defined itself by its commitment to social justice.

At the event Pressley used the term expansively, saying, “Anybody doing work for a more equitable and just society is a member of the Squad.”

Those waiting in line before the event were confronted by protesters opposed to Pressley. The protesters spoke through megaphones and directly approached attendees, accusing both attendees and the representatives of racism. Many carried pro-Trump and anti-abortion signs.

Local music groups performed at the event. The artist Danny Rivera led a chorus in performing the song “Joy” in celebration of the idea that “another world is possible, one where your life is defined by joy and possibility, not trauma and hardship,” as put by Pressley in her opening speech. The artist Lux Villar also presented a poem and led a group in musical performances.

During the discussion, the representatives talked about how their lived experiences inform their policies and decision-making. Many brought up difficult and traumatic experiences. Ilhan Omar spoke about her experience of hunger as a child and its impact on her political action.

The representatives also spoke on the importance of intersectionality in shaping the world around us. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez spoke about how systems such as capitalism and imperialism “seek to isolate us, to separate us, to make us feel alone and to flatten us into two-dimensional identities,” and the role this plays in the development of political progress.

Pressley added, “We are one human family, and our freedoms and our destinies are inextricably tied… What happens to one of us is the business of all of us.”

The event can be found on Ayanna Pressley’s Facebook at this link.

photo: Human Rights Campaign

Ketanji Brown Jackson confirmed to the Supreme Court

by Ella Wilczek, 2025

On April 7th, Ketanji Brown Jackson was confirmed as the 116th US Supreme Court justice and first Black woman. The confirmation was presided over by Vice President Kamala Harris, the first Black woman to be elected to that position. She will replace Justice Stephen Breyer, who is retiring after twenty-eight years on the Court.

The Senate confirmed her by a vote of 53-47, with all 50 Democratic and three Republican senators (Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Mitt Romney of Utah) voting yes. Jackson will be the sixth woman and third Black person to serve on the court, which has historically been dominated by white men. In addition, she will be the first former public defender in the role.

According to the White House, "the President sought an individual who is committed to equal justice under the law and who understands the profound impact that the Supreme Court’s decisions have on the lives of the American people." He felt that Justice Jackson's credentials and track record supported those ideals.

Though three Republicans voted to confirm, partisan politics were evident in the number who opposed her appointment.