On this day four years ago, I went to the airport ten hours before my flight. It was an important one. I spent nearly a decade fighting my way to the Supreme Court and I wanted to do everything possible to make sure I would not miss one of the most important moments in my life. A major blizzard was sweeping across the Northwest in early 2017 and was closing down most of the roads. Most flights were cancelled; luckily, we were one of the only flights to escape.
On the plane, I watched a boxing movie called Hands of Stone, based on the life of a Panamanian street fighter named Robert Duran who became the lightweight champion of the world. Audiences from barrios and slums throughout Panama cheered him on, especially in light of tense U.S.-Panama relationships. For them, he was the pride of the streets. His victories represented overcoming an unjust system—each punch he threw carried the hopes of these marginalized communities. For me, it was a reminder that when marginalized groups have to navigate an inequitable system, even minor jabs carried more significance. And no one punch wins the fight – it is the culmination of countless attacks, pivots, and larger efforts that do the job.
As soon as we landed, I turned on my phone and saw a backlog of 1,200 messages, mostly interview requests, in my email. Al Jazeera, HBO, ABC, NBC—those interviews would all be scheduled over the next week, but our plan for the first night was to sit down with Nina Totenberg at NPR’s headquarters in Georgetown. My inner geek was freaking out as I walked down the hallways, seeing the faces of voices I’ve listened to for years. I remember looking at their massive whiteboard calendar filled with upcoming interviews and seeing someone I’d cross paths with in DC not long after: Killer Mike.
You never know where you’ll end up in this life or who you’ll meet along the way, but the most important thing is to remember: keep swinging. As Justice Thurgood Marshall once wrote, “You do what you think is right and let the law catch up.”