POLITICS

Texas County Swears In 17 Black Female Judges In 'Extraordinary Moment In History'

The newly sworn-in elected officials were featured in a viral photo showcasing black women running for judgeships.

New representation and Black Girl Magic came to a Texas county this week when 17 black women were sworn in as new judges.  

The newly-elected officials made headlines in November when they won their races for various courts in Harris County, which includes Houston and surrounding areas. They were sworn in on Tuesday.

“January 1, 2019 at noon will be an extraordinary moment in history for all of us in Harris County, Houston, Texas,” Judge LaShawn Williams wrote on Facebook last month ahead of the swearing-in ceremony.  

19 African-American women who are now all serving as judges in Harris County, Texas.
19 African-American women who are now all serving as judges in Harris County, Texas.

She was one of the candidates highlighted in the Harris County Democratic Party’s “Black Girl Magic Texas” photo and campaign ahead of the November elections, which featured the largest number of black women in history on a Harris County ballot, according to the Associated Press

The photo features the 17 now-elected officials in a courtroom along with two sitting Harris County judges who were seeking seats on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. Those two judges lost their bids for statewide office but retained their local judgeships, The New York Times reported. 

Nearly 20 percent of the county’s population is black, according to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau statistics. 

“Today we usher in a new era of representative government and progressive leadership in Harris County,” the Harris County Democratic Party posted on Facebook on Tuesday. 

Judge Angela Graves-Harrington, one of the women elected in November, told the Associated Press at the time that she had hoped the images of black women on the bench would make Harris County proud.

“We felt showcasing the number of African-American women on the bench would galvanize our base and also galvanize those who don’t typically vote in the midterm elections and get them excited about coming out,” Graves-Harrington said. “We also wanted to have something out there that we could be proud of, that our community could be proud of and that Harris County could be proud of.” 

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