Ushering In a New Wave of Justice

Ushering In a New Wave of Justice

The New Year 2019 has brought the winds of change over Harris County in Texas as 19 African American women were sworn in as judges after the elections held on 6 November 2018. The Democratic Party defeated the Republican incumbents and registered the momentous occasion by declaring on social media: “It’s a brand new day in Harris County!” And a remarkable day it was - 17 newly elected and two re-elected judges took on their official posts as the whole world watched them. The elected group of African American judges has attained celebrity status with a photograph of all the judges going viral on social media.

#BlackGirlsAreMagic is the campaign that CaShawn Thompson ignited in 2013 to highlight the empowerment of African American girls. #BlackGirlMagic is now being used to chronicle the historic win of the African American judges in Texas County as well. “Houston 19” and “Harris County Black Girl Magic” are some of the terms being used by the media and County members to address the victory. Harris County is the largest state county. It has the unique distinction of being one of the most diverse counties with a significant Asian and African American population. 

In an interview with The Washington Post, Lillie Schechter, the Democratic party Chair commented that: “The county finally has a judiciary that truly reflects the different faces of the people that come before it.” Harris County is increasingly embracing diversity - Lina Hidalgo is another judge of Latin background who was elected in the midterm November elections. Elected Democrat Lina Hidalgo, a 27-year-old Latin immigrant, spoke about the new wave in Texas politics in a press release: “We made history in Harris County on November 6 by electing a talented group of individuals who reflect the people and communities we serve.

17 African American Judges Sworn In at Texas County<br />
WomELLE March 2019 Magazine

That would not have been possible without the support of the residents of Harris County.” The elected officials are also taking a moment to process the momentous win. Erica Hughes, one of the elected judges, has called the triumph nothing short of “divine intervention.” Judge Lori Chambers Gray expressed her joy and surprise to The Washington Post: “You don’t think of African American women as making up the U.S. judiciary.”

The National Public Radio, Inc lists the names of the elected judges as: “The 19 African-American women in judgeships in Harris County include Judge Shannon Baldwin, Judge Lucia Bates, Judge Ronnisha Bowman, Judge Sharon M. Burney, Judge Dedra Davis, Judge Linda Marie Dunson, Judge Toria J. Finch, Judge Ramona Franklin, Judge Lori Chambers Gray, Judge Angela Graves-Harrington, Judge Cassandra Y. Holleman, Judge Erica Hughes, Judge Maria T. Jackson, Judge Tonya Jones, Judge Latosha Lewis Payne, Judge Michelle Moore, Judge Sandra Peake, Judge Germaine Tanner, and Judge LaShawn A. Williams.” The landmark swearing-in of 19 African American judges represents one small step for Harris County and one giant leap for the worldwide diversity movement.


Naghilia Desravines

Naghilia Desravines

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