These young Black girls should have been celebrating the first Black woman on the Supreme Court.

Instead, as the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett was well on its way, these girls — all 100 of them — got dressed up in judicial robes to launch a protest.

“Honor Her Wish,” their little masks read.

“Her wish,” of course, was Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dying request that her seat wouldn’t be filled until after the election. Joe Biden has pledged to put a Black woman on the Supreme Court if he wins in November.

But President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s hypocritical move to fill Ginsburg’s seat a mere eight days before the election means the 100 Black girls who have never seen a Black woman on the court will see instead a woman who looks nothing like them helping to decide huge issues in their futures.

It’s not just about representation, although representation is important (“you can’t be what you can’t see,” as Children’s Defense Fund founder Marian Wright Edelman reminded us).

“The cases coming up are going to disproportionately affect the lives of African Americans, women in particular,” said Sabriya Williams, who helped organize the girls, ages 8 to 15, who gathered at the steps of Washington National Cathedral last week.

Health care, reproductive rights, immigration, gun rights, deadly force and discrimination are going to be before the Supreme Court in the coming years. And the lifetime appointees will be the architects of an American future that deeply affects Black women.

So, a week before the election, when Trump’s third nominee was a done deal, these women and girls trended their slogan — #SheWillRise — and agitated for a Black woman on the court. They are trying to make the connection for people that a vote for Biden will be the closest thing to a vote for that appointment.

Because the narrative needs to change.

“If you’re talking about a shortlist of Supreme Court candidates when there’s a vacancy, you’re years behind,” said Kim Tignor, one of the principal organizers of the campaign. “Socializing and normalizing the idea of a Black woman on the Supreme Court is a conversation that has to begin now.”

So they called their friends and colleagues with little girls who were already excited over seeing Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), a woman who looks like a member of their own families, running for a national office. They dressed them up like little justices and took lots of photos so others can visualize them on the bench someday.

Because for years, “marginalized communities haven’t had the capacity to think about the judicial pipeline,” Tignor said. “We’re having conversations about how sleeping should be a safe activity.”

Black women — who are 13 percent of the U.S. population but 20 percent of the women shot and killed by police officers — are talking about the way Breonna Taylor was gunned down in her apartment in a hugely problematic police raid.

They are busy trying to stay alive when they give birth — which isn’t easy when they’re between three and four times as likely as White women to die of pregnancy-related issues, regardless of income or education.

They’re trying not to get sick, because Black people are nearly five times as likely as Whites to be hospitalized with covid-19.

And Black women spend between two to three times as many hours caring for sick or elderly relatives as White women do, according to a report from Lean In.

They’re trying to hold onto their jobs. While unemployment across the United States slightly decreased in August, it rose to nearly 27 percent for young Black women, according to the National Women’s Law Center.

And when they are employed, Black women in D.C. and the 24 states with the largest number of Black women employed full time and year-round make between 47 and 67 cents for every dollar a White man earns, according to the National Partnership for Women and Families.

So putting energy into a possible court nominee years down the road might seem like a luxury among Black women weighed down by these inequities.

That’s why these professional women in the D.C. area — lawyers and engineers, executives and writers — are stepping in to bring that issue into the national conversation.

They’re good at it.

One of the women on the campaign is April Reign, the lawyer who launched the #OscarsSoWhite movement with that 2015 hashtag on Twitter. The fact that 86 percent of Hollywood’s blockbusters feature White leads and 92 percent of top directors are men, according to a USC Annenberg study, suddenly became more important than red carpet designers that year, and the film industry has been answering for that inequity ever since.

Five years later, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has very deliberately doubled the number of women and people of color in their voting membership. And inclusion riders helped slowly begin to diversify the stars and staffing in film.

None of the 114 — 115 on Tuesday morning — Supreme Court justices has ever been a Black woman.

And none of the 56 judges Trump has named to the nation’s higher courts is Black — female or male.

The Senate’s vote this week already happened. But the people’s vote next week may be the vote that determines whether a Black woman — if a vacancy comes up — will finally rise to a Supreme Court that looks a lot more like the United States.

Twitter: @petulad

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