By some estimates, out of more than 2,000 practicing attorneys in Alaska, only about twenty are Black. Just a fraction of the judges in the state are African American.
Given those numbers, it’s easy to understand why June 30, 2022 was a milestone for two longtime cAnchorage attorneys, who are Black and often represent people of color.
Lori Colbert, who has a family law practice, said she felt proud and excited as she watched the televised swearing-in ceremony for Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court.
Rex Butler, a criminal defense attorney, said he was tied up in a court deposition, but thought of Brown and the history of the moment.
In this Thursday’s Juneau Afternoon, Colbert and Butler reflect on the significance of Brown’s rise to the highest court in the land.
Also in this program:
- Culture Rich Conversations from the Juneau Black Awareness Association. Kelli Patterson hosts this week’s show, which originally aired in March.
You can catch Juneau Afternoon,Tuesday through Friday, live at 3:00 p.m. on KTOO Juneau 104.3. The rebroadcast airs at 7:00 p.m. on KTOO. You can also listen online at ktoo.org.
For more information about Juneau Afternoon or to schedule time on the show, email email@example.com.
Although Rex Butler and Lori Colbert have worked for many years to bring diversity and equity to Alaska’s justice system, they say progress has been slow. They concede that Justice Kentanji Brown Jackson will not tilt the ideological make-up of the court, but predict her background and perspective as a Black woman, will ultimately be a game changer.
They say, as the youngest member of the bench, she will likely have longterm influence.
It was an intimate discussion between two friends that began on the radio, not long after George Floyd was murdered. Heather Pedersen, who is white, worried about how the social upheaval from this tragedy would affect her black friend, Kelli Patterson – who is also one of the hosts of Culture Rich Conversations, a weekly program produced by the Black Awareness Association of Juneau. In this program, the two women continue their conversation on interracial friendships with an update on their lives since 2020.
Editor’s note: This show originally aired on March 3, 2022.
Wes Adkins, one of the lead forecasters on the Juneau National Weather Service team, says the July 4th weekend will bring mostly hot and dry weather, but there is an outside chance of thunderstorms and flooding from melting snow on the Taku River.