The atmosphere in Jefferson County on Tuesday got ecstatic as nine Black women won the judicial seats.
I know that everything feels terrible, but before you lose all hope for humanity heading into the weekend, think of Jefferson County, Alabama, The Frisky states. I know, good news never seems to come out of Alabama, but nothing is normal anymore, so let’s all just take it. On Tuesday, as everything else went wrong, Jefferson County, Alabama elected nine female black judges. There is absolutely nothing negative about this news. Even better, they’re judges — they aren’t reps or senators that will be shipped off to Washington to get mired in partisan politics. Judges are where the power is at, and there will be nine female black judges in town, just as Trump’s America really starts to kick in.
This is very, very good news. Jefferson County may be just as screwed as the rest of us, but for the time being, there is a bright spot in Alabama. Of all places.
Here are the women who will soon preside over Jefferson County’s laws: Javan Patton, Debra Bennett Winston, Shera Craig Grant, Nakita “Niki” Perryman Blocton, Tamara Harris Johnson, Elisabeth French, Agnes Chappell, Brendette Brown Green, and Annetta Verin. They’ll be sworn in in January. I love them already. This was how the whole week was supposed to feel.
Birmingham lawyer Emory Anthony, the former president of the Jefferson County Progressive Democratic Council, told The Birmingham Times, “I just think it’s great. Jefferson County is a majority Democratic County. They turn out to vote, they’re capable of electing qualified individuals.” Just think: people in the judicial system that represent their constituents. Gosh, it must feel so good.
Record Number of This Alabama Black Women Win Judicial Seatshttps://t.co/guZp6e6L5a
— JBE (@msjbe20a) November 13, 2016
French, who was re-elected to Jefferson County’s Circuit Court, told The Birmingham Times that she believes her hard work and years of experience helped to propel her to elected office, according to The Huffington Post.
“I think the people don’t necessarily just support you just because of your race and gender. I think voters expect more than that. They look at our qualifications and make a decision about who they can trust with the leadership position,” she said.
This is great to see in this season https://t.co/JnN4tA73NS
— C. A. Stewart (@pastorc_allen) November 12, 2016
Tuesday night was a big night for Black women across the states ― not just in local politics, but in federal positions, as well. Three Black women , Catherine Cortez Masto, Tammy Duckworth and Kamala Harris, were elected to the Senate. Stephanie Murphy and Pramila Jayapal were also elected to the House. Next year, there will be 38 Black women serving in Congress, bringing us a little bit closer to shattering that glass ceiling.
Lynniece Olive-Washington also made history when she won the Bessemer Cutoff District Attorney’s office over Bill Veitch, becoming the first African-American and first woman to hold the position, The Birmingham Times reported.
“I feel honored…that I’m allowed to be the chief law enforcement officer and I understand that I have a lot of work to do,” Olive-Washington said. “I welcome it.”
Part of that work includes reinforcing bonds between the police and the community, she said.
“If the police want to protect and serve neighborhoods, then the neighborhoods have to be able to receive them,” she said. “…In correlation to crime, you’re going to need both [police and residents] to deter the crime that’s going on in the community.”
Harris Johnson said the number of Black women in law schools continue to grow as well as in other occupations. “I’m sure that if you probably looked at the statistics either in law school or the national the statistics there probably are more black females that are in law school and even in medicine. I think females are coming into their own. Black females in my mind have always been strong and I’m saying that from a different perspective. I grew up around strong women. And I didn’t know anything except strong women.”
Harris Johnson and the other judges said they were not elected because they are Black women.
“I came out successful this time number one because of God, my perseverance and determination,” she said. “I’ve always believed what happens to me it’s in God’s will and he has a plan.”
“I have always told my children never let anybody decide what your dream will be – not even me – or who will bring your dream to fruition – not even me,” Harris Johnson said. “So, I have to set myself as an example. This isn’t my first time running for a race. I’m not a politician. I don’t like politics. The only thing I liked about campaigning was meeting the people.”
Other Democrats also fared well in Tuesday’s election including William A. “Tony” Bell, Jr., son of Birmingham Mayor William Bell; Clyde Jones; Robert P. Bynon Jr., Eric M. Fancher Sr., Reginald L. Jeter and Michael Streety. Charles Todd Henderson defeated Brandon K. Falls for District Attorney and David J. Hobdy and Bob Vance Jr. won uncontested.
The victory of these astounding Black women is indeed a victory for all of us. As we congratulate them, we also hope that their presence in the judicial system will turn things around; at least we will begin to see some justice for the African-Americans. We pledge our continuous support for the Black community and its new judges.