After a 2018 that often felt exhausting, overwhelming, and just plain dark, 2019 has finally arrived. And already, the new year is promising to be full of change. One Texas county started 2019 strong by swearing in a record number of black female judges. According to The Hill, yesterday, January 1st, Harris County, Texas swore in 17 newly-elected black women to serve on the county’s bench. With the addition of these newcomers, there are now 19 black women holding judicial seats in the county—believed to be the most ever elected at one time in the county.
After these 19 women—two of whom were incumbents—announced their candidacies, the Harris County Democrats helped rally support for them through a local campaign called “Black Girl Magic Texas.” The campaign was a success, with all 19 winning their elections in November. The new judges are also notable for their impressive qualifications. Local CBS affiliate KHOU 11 News reports that the 19 women have more than 200 years of experience between them. The Harris County Democratic Party tweeted pictures from the swearing-in ceremony, writing that it was a “brand new day.”
CNN notes that Harris County is the largest in Texas and includes the city of Houston. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, it has a population of more than four million: 43% of its residents are Latinx and nearly 20% are black.
CNN reports that Harris County also swore in County Judge Lina Hidalgo on January 1st. Hidalgo, a Colombian immigrant, made waves with her November election when she beat sitting County Judge Ed Emmett, a Republican who had held the position for more than 10 years.
Seeing these 19 incredible women taking their seats gives us serious hope for the year to come.