As the saying goes, “You can’t be what you don’t see”. This message has been a mainstay among African American women fighting to break the glass ceilings standing in their way. Houston, Texas is the latest to partake in this trend of ‘black girl magic’. Its residents elected 19 African American women as judges to its Harris county court system. These women trailblazers have set a tone similar to the grand sweep of women elected to Congress recently. This is a huge step in proper representation for those that lack it in their own communities.
The story behind their successful run is a testament to collaboration and moving as a unit. While attending a Harris County Democratic Party meet and greet, the women realized that there was a large number of African Americans. Shannon Brown, who resides as a judge in the Harris County Criminal Court at Law says, “Once we moved past the primary election, we realized that there was this great phenomenon, if you will, a large number of African American women running for judge” (NPR).
The women knew they had to take advantage of this because of its power within the current climate of inclusion. Using the strength in numbers tactic, the women were able to rally enough voters to make the seemingly impossible, possible. Along with the sheer epic-ness of seeing black women be great, the campaign was also pushed because of Senate candidate Beto O’ Rourke. His clinching of Harris County in his bid for a Senate seat was a major boost. They would benefit from the straight ticket votes but the women have been relentless in making their dreams a reality.
Ever since the 2016 presidential election there has been a consorted effort to make sure everyone’s interests are manifested. Electing people that represent the most diverse parts of America is necessary if we want to see the change within our own communities. These 19 women hold a unique power that can influence a new generation of black girls who may doubt themselves.
Just a simple image of the women in a courtroom will ignite a fire in those that follow. “I’ve even had parents that tell me that their daughters took the picture that we had and they framed it, and it’s actually on their wall in their bedroom” (NPR). Representation matters. These women have been able to change the narrative about who can hold high-level court positions. This isn’t because black women haven’t always been qualified, but because they provided the visual representation.
The results of their rulings will be an honest reflection of their experience of the law and black women.