One of the best stories to come out of the 2018 midterm elections has now been made official: 17 of the 19 black female judges who were elected to serve in Harris County, Texas, have officially been sworn in, CNN reports.
The group made headlines in November when they won their elections, as part of the 38 Democratic district judges who swept the ballot in Harris County. Per BuzzFeed, the women include Judges Shannon Baldwin, Lucia Bates, Ronnisha Bowman, Sharon Burney, Lori Chambers Gray, Dedra Davis, Linda Dunson, Toria Finch, Ramona Franklin, Angela Graves-Harrington, Cassandra Holleman, Erica Hughes, Maria Jackson, Tonya Jones, Latosha Lewis Payne, Michelle Moore, Sandra Peake, Germaine Tanner, and LaShawn Williams. Together, they have more than 200 years experience, Local CBS affiliate KHOU-11 reports.
“I also wanted to serve as an inspiration for all those people who wondered if they could. Yes, you can,” Judge Graves-Harrington told KHOU about being part of such an historic win. She also hopes that representation on the bench will help reflect the Harris County’s diverse demographics. (The county, which includes the Houston area, is the third-largest county in the country; 43 percent of residents are Latinx, and 20 percent are black, per the latest census numbers.)
Judge Payne told KHOU, “I for one am looking into making sure that every person who has a legal case, has an equal opportunity for justice.”
Judge Lina Hidalgo, who is 27 years old was also sworn in yesterday as County Judge. A Democrat, she unseated incumbent Republican judge Ed Emmett, who had served for ten years.
In a press release, Hidalgo, who immigrated from Colombia with her family in 2005, said “We made history in Harris County on November 6 by electing a talented group of individuals who reflect the people and communities we serve. That would not have been possible without the support of the residents of Harris County.”