Updated: Jul 3
1HoodPower : Miracle Jones, Khari Mosley and Ryan Whyte
Presented a Power Hour with Black Women Judicial Candidates Roundtable
It was phenomenal! Here’s what was most impactful for me !
Judge Tamkia Lane: Superior Court Nominee
Encouraged us to accept jury service so people of color on trial can see themselves on the jury. People who look like us, understand our existence and experiences with over policing in our neighborhoods, fabricated and embellished police reports and general disrespect by law enforcement and the judicial system. Tamika was a single mom, a child advocate and saw her first black judge in the court of Judge Lori Dumas. Tamika left her job as a public defender and sold her car to run for office. She is totally committed to seeking this office to practice fair and equitable justice from the bench after seeing it denied far too often. She watches Judges controlling the court rooms unfairly and would continue to do so indefinitely. She hopes to win her seat and serve fairly without prejudice being careful to fashion a sentence that works for the person and serves justice with no malice, ill intent, or inhumane treatment of anyone. The elected term is 10 years, and then retained, most often a judge will sit on the bench for life.
Judge Lori Dumas- 20 years on the bench in Philadelphia
We need to be represented on the bench. Trial court touches lives and systems that impact lives. Systemic impact: court can impact these systems. She referenced one of my favorite quotes “if not you-who and if not now -when” – don’t let people change your “why” you do what you do. On diversionary programs: Judges have a lot of power, once you get into office and learn the ins and outs of your systems, resources, people, places and things you won’t necessarily need a diversion program, you can just to do the right thing. Also, identify the players who can help you get things done. Judge Dumas says the judge has an obligation and responsibility to explain to the defendant what’s going on in the proceedings, it makes the process longer, but people are entitled to understand what’s happening and why.
Judge Tiffany Sizemore: 15 years of service.
We need judges who understand lived experience, who will hear all voices in the courtroom, and life experiences should be honored, she’s seen and heard too many people of color be shouted down and dishonored in court. There are those who lost the primary election that are running as other than democrat to try and unseat the divine nine. Conviction required for diversionary programs is a con for her. She also isn’t in favor of bringing people into the system on unnecessary or frivolous charges and advocates making sure those programs are not used as catchalls or a backdoor to being in the system and then the persons cannot get out and have this stain on their record.
Nicola Henry-Taylor: We need to understand the intersectionality of being black and a woman. There have been only 4 black women judges in our history in Allegheny County. Nicola belongs to the Pittsburgh Black Lawyer Alliance. Nicola quotes and credits Kamala Harris and the quote by Kamala “I eat no for breakfast” Nicola works for Duquesne and considers it a pipeline for her students whom she encourages and inspires them to “eat no for breakfast “ Nicola worked for awhile as the Asst. DA in Mental Health Court.
Judge Wrenna Watson: 26 years of service
She is a sitting judge with an extensive record of fairness and impartiality, in the minor judiciary. She quoted the Biblical Woman of God: Esther indicating that of these women candidates that we are called for Such a Time As This! Her passion is juvenile court but her record caused the community to reach out to her and ask her to pursue the need for a woman and a person of color on the Court of Common Pleas.