By: Crystal Toussant
Renee Logan, Dr. Janice Beal, and Dr. Carla Brailey were the masterminds who conceived the idea to partner with the Holocaust Museum Houston to bring grade school Black girls ages 10 – 13 years old from the Greater Houston Metropolitan Area to view the Notorious Ruth Bader Ginsberg (RBG) Exhibit. Renee is one of the sponsors of the RBG Exhibit and was approached by the Chief Executive Officer, Kelly J. Zúñiga, Ed.D. to develop an event to engage Black Girls and Women. These dynamic accomplished women wanted to expose intercity Black girls to RBG’s journey and the legacy of her esteemed law career.
The event Steppingstones to Greatness was conceived out of the desire to make certain that each young lady knows the importance of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s extraordinary career of beating the odds, which served as an inspiration for our first African American Supreme Court Justice, Ketanji Brown Jackson. Each young lady was given a free tour of the Notorious RBG Exhibit where they completed a scavenger hunt to learn about the intricate details of the people, places, and things that influenced her career and life’s work. Notably, Paulie Murray was one of RBG sheroes in law. Paulie was an openly lesbian Black attorney who clerked for Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, whom we all revere as the first Black Supreme Court Justice in the United States of America.
The Holocaust Museum Houston’s exhibit on Ruth Bader Ginsberg is a testament to the perseverance, dedication to justice for all, and indomitable spirit of a woman who knew she was destined to help change the world. Each of the hosts of Steppingstones to Greatness is an amazing woman in her own right. Renee is a philanthropist, and long-standing businesswoman as the President and C.E.O. of Access Data Supply, which is responsible for forecasting and budgeting, strategic partnering, client development, and engagement, along with business development and marketing from a national platform. Dr. Janice Beal is the Clinical Director of Well Being in Color and Primary Therapist where she has served 8,500 students in New York and Houston to be at the forefront of solution-oriented mental health work during the pandemic. Then there is the trailblazer, Dr. Carla Brailey, who is the first Black woman to run for Lieutenant Governor, Senior Fellow of the Barbara Jordan Institute of Policy Analysis, and a Professor at Texas Southern University.
The awesome hosts had the vision to invite some of the greatest legal minds in Harris and Fort Bend Counties to share a little Black Girl Magic from the bench. These well accomplished, caring, and generous Black Women Judges headed the call to action: Judges Latosha McGill Clayton, Ramona Franklin, Tamecia Glover, Jeralynn Manor, Kali Morgan, Fredericka Phillips, Toni Wallace, and Wanda Adams.
From the Notorious RBG, to the Illustrious KBJ (Ketanji Brown Jackson), to the examples of Black Girl Magic on the bench, every young lady’s face in the room lit up with joy as the judges County took time out of their busy schedules to put on their robes and gracefully glided to their rightful places on the stage to share a wealth of insight, knowledge, and encouragement.
It was empowering, inspiring, & motivating to everyone in the room. Every judge had a unique perspective that turned on light bulbs for everyone. During the event, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee called in from a Pro-Choice Rally, which was a testament to her dedication to serving our community on every level. We were then blessed with the insightful and loving support of Councilwoman Dr. Letitia Plummer, who reminded every young lady that you can create your own path.
All the judges stayed longer to answer questions, share information about internships, mock trial opportunities as well as take pictures. The most empowering moment was when one of the judges said that “it is okay to talk too much but learn when to talk and when to listen.” A special thank you to these ladies for pouring into these dynamic young leaders of the future.