White men dominate the criminal justice system in the U.S., but a city in Georgia has bucked that trend by having its criminal justice system led completely by Black women.
The Atlanta suburb of South Fulton is a relatively new city, having been formed in May 2017, but work began immediately to create its municipal court system, according to CNN.
Meet the women:
Chief Judge Tiffany Carter Sellers, Interim Police Chief Sheila Rogers, Solicitor LaDawn “LBJ” Jones, Public Defender Viveca Famber Powell, Court Administrator Lakesiya Cofield, Chief Court Clerk Ramona Howard, Court Clerk Tiffany Kinslow and Court Clerk Kerry Stephens.
“This was not something that was pre-planned or prescribed,” said Chief Judge Sellers told CNN. “It came together very organically.”
Per CNN, Jones and Powell were hired by the city attorney; police chief Rogers was chosen by South Fulton Mayor William Edwards and the city council; and Sellers hired Cofield.
Jones said that she walked into a meeting a few months ago and was excited to see the room filled with people who looked like her.
“I walked into a very small conference room, and I noticed that it was all black women,” she said. “I kind of got that feeling of ‘this is nice — this is exciting.'”
The women say that they have more empathy for defendants who appear in the courtroom because they, being Black women, understand that the system can be biased against people of color.
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Teddy is a multimedia journalist who serves as the culture and political writer for EBONY. His work has appeared in NBC's Owned and Operated stations, as well as DNAInfo, which covered local neighborhood news in New York City. He received his Masters in Journalism from the Craig Newmark School of Journalism at CUNY in 2017.