By James Clark (Community Advocate for Equity in the Judicial System) – pictured: Ed King Esq.
For the past couple of years, I have been questioning the sincerity of elected officials and others when they call for diversity and support of the Black Lives Matter movement. I’m sure other New Yorkers feel the same way. If everyone is talking about their commitment to create diversity, why are so many black and brown people still stuck with low-wage jobs and less opportunities. It just doesn’t add up. Saying you are for diversity and that you support Black Lives Matter seems like it’s where it ends for too many elected officials. There is no evidence that action is being taken to support their claims of fighting for diversity.
Here is a perfect situation where we can put my theory to the test.
Civil Court Judge Craig Walker has been selected as the Democratic nominee to become a Supreme Court Justice in Brooklyn. Judge Walker’s term as Civil Court judge is expiring, which opened the door for him to move up to the Supreme Court.
Walker will still have to run in the November General Election. Since Brooklyn is a stronghold for Democrats it is safe to say that Walker will become a Supreme Court Justice, making him just one of two black male judges in Brooklyn’s Supreme Court. If Walker is successful in his Supreme Court run his position as Civil Court Judge will become vacant.
Many black and brown people in Brooklyn are advocating for attorney Ed King to replace Walker as the Civil Court Judge in Brooklyn. Ed King has been a practicing attorney for the past 30 years and he has been a strong advocate for tenants who are threatened with eviction. King has represented many religious organizations in matters of wills and trusts, as well as other real estate matters for congregations. King is an advocate for seniors and senior housing, and he has the necessary qualifications to become a Civil Court judge.
There are currently only three black male judges in Brooklyn’s courts. When Walker vacates his seat on the Civil Court there will be only one black male judge remaining. At a time when so many people, white and black, are talking about the importance of creating diversity and waving the Black Lives Matters flag, it is extremely important for Judge Walker’s replacement to be a black male judge. King’s experience and advocacy makes him qualified to take the seat on the bench as the Civil Court Judge.
Appointing anyone other than a black male judge to this seat should not be acceptable to the residents of Brooklyn. In the past, open judgeship seats have been backfilled by a person of the same race and/or gender as the person who is leaving the seat, to maintain the bare minimum when it comes to diversity. In this case, Walker is a black male judge, and his replacement should be a black male judge. This is the only way to start to create diversity at the highest level within the courts system. For those who honestly believe in diversity in the judicial system and Black Lives Matter this should be an easy decision.
We’ve seen the importance of judicial appointments with Trump’s judges rolling back Roe v Wade, Gun Safety Laws, Miranda Rights and more. Local level appointments are just as important. Brooklyn District Leaders have an opportunity to prove their commitment to diversity within the judicial system and their commitment to Black Lives Matters by selecting Ed King as to Brooklyn’s Civil Court. Diversity at the highest level of the judicial system is a step in the right direction.
The selection of the next judge to replace Walker is in the hands of the Brooklyn District Leaders, who are tasked with voting for the Civil Judge. For those of you who do not know. each Assembly District in Brooklyn has a male and female District Leader. The official title of District Leader is NY State Committee Member. The following is a list of District Leaders who have an opportunity to prove that they are serious about diversity on the courts and believers in Black Lives Matters. These are the District Leaders who will vote for the person to replace Walker.
I will write a follow up Op-ed to let you know how they voted. Some of these District Leaders are also NY State Assembly Members and NYC Council Members in districts where you live.
Bradley Reid– Assembly District (AD) 41
Jennifer Faucher AD41
Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn – AD 42
Josue Pierre – AD 42
Sarana Purcell – AD 43
Edu Hermelyn – AD 43
Lori Citron Knipel – AD 44
Doug Schneider – AD 44
Margarita Kagan – AD 45
Ari Kagan – AD 45
Dionne Brown-Jordan – AD 46
Male District Leader – AD 46 (Vacant)
Nancy Tong – AD 47
Charles Ragusa – AD 47
Sharon Fuchs – AD 48
David Schwartz – AD 48
Victoria Kelly – AD 49
Joseph A. Bova – AD 49
Female District Leader – AD 50 (Vacant Seat)
Emile Bazile – AD 50
Arelis Martinez – AD 51
Julio Pena III – AD 51
Jesse Pierce – AD 52
Josh Skaller – AD 52
Maritza Davila – AD 53
Samuel Nemir Olivares – AD 53
Arleny Alvarado-McCalla – AD 54
Erik Dilan – AD 54
Darlene Mealy – AD 55
Anthony Jones – AD 55
Kenesha Traynham-Cooper – AD 56
Henry Butler – AD 56
Shaquana Boykin – AD 57
Walter Mosley, III – AD 57
Melba Brown – AD 58
Cory Provost – AD 58
Jaime Williams – AD 59
Frank R. Seddio – AD 59
Inez Barron – AD 60
Charles Barron – AD 60
Joanne Seminara – AD 64
Christopher McCreight – AD 64
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