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The Houston 19: 19 Black Women Win Judiciary Seats

Who Are The Houston 19

Women made history with a whole bunch of firsts last Tuesday. The 2018 midterm elections resulted in Kansas’ first lesbian and Native American congresswoman, Massachusetts’s first Black congresswoman, and Minnesota’s first Muslim congresswoman—just to name a few. But as it turns out, women winning big didn’t stop there.

Houston, Texas is the fourth largest city in the U.S. Harris County, which is located in the Greater Houston-area, is the third largest county in the country. So, on Wednesday morning after ballots had been counted, the news that every African American woman who had run for the position of Judge in Harris County had won spread fast. There are now 19 Black female judges in Harris County.

*Break for standing ovation*

This is no small feat. According to the American Constitution Society (a progressive legal organization), less than one-third of state judges are women and only 20 percent are women of color, making these women’s victories remarkable. Now dubbed the Houston 19, these awesome women deserve recognition, celebration and to be known by name and position.

Here’s a brief introduction to the Houston 19:

  1. Sandra Peake: District judge, 257th Judicial District (Family)
  2. Judge Ramona Frankin: Presiding Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 7
  3. Germaine Tanner: District Judge, 311th Judicial District (Family)
  4. Angela Graves-Harrington: District Judge, 246th Judicial District
  5. Cassandra Hollerman Judge: County Criminal Court-At-Law No. 12
  6. Tonya Jones: Judge, County Criminal Court-At-Law No. 15
  7. Dedra Davis: District Judge, 270th Judicial District (Civil)
  8. LaShawn A. Williams: Judge, County Civil Court-At-Law No. 3
  9. Latosha Lewis Payne: District Judge, 55th Judicial District (Civil)
  10. Linda M. Dunson: District Judge, 309th Judicial District (Family)
  11. Toria J. Finch: Judge, County Criminal Court-At-Law No. 9
  12. Erica Hughes: Judge, County Criminal Court-At-Law No. 3
  13. Lucia G. Bates: Justice Of The Peace, Precinct No. 3, Place 2
  14. Ronnisha Bowman: Judge, County Criminal Court-At-Law No. 2
  15. Michelle Moore: District Judge, 314th Judicial District (Juvenile)
  16. Sharon Burney: Justice Of The Peace, Precinct No. 7, Place 2
  17. Shannon Baldwin: Judge, County Criminal Court-At-Law No. 4
  18. Lori Chambers Gray: District Judge, 262nd Judicial District (Criminal)
  19. Maria Jackson: Presiding Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals

It’s worth mentioning that most of these women won with impressive margins. We congratulate all of these boundary-breaking sheroes on their impressive accomplishments. The future is bound to hold more opportunities for women in powerful roles because of them. Thank you!

feature photo: Harris Black Girl Magic

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Annette Benedetti
Annette Benedetti
Annette is a writer, editor and photographer from Portland, OR. Her work appears in a variety of publications including Bust, Red Tricycle, Motherly and Domino. When she’s away from her desk she can be found teaching women yoga at wilderness retreats, exploring new cities across the states and hiking the trails at Mt. Rainier—one of her favorite places on earth.
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