Diversity on the Bench is extremely important as it allows for a more dynamic dialogue in our upper court system. Right now there is only 1 Latino Justice in the Appellate Court, and far contrast from the 25% of Latinos living in Cook County. And not just Latinos are being underrepresented, Asian Americans are completely absent from both the Appellate and Supreme Court. In an age when Cook County is the face of diversity, its time our Judiciary reflected it’s constituency.
Many of our constituents now fear having family members deported or misplaced, while others fear losing the right to chose what happens to their bodies, or who they can marry. Unfortunately, we live in a time when many of our basic civil liberties are being jeopardized. It goes beyond gender, race, religion, or even political bias: these civil rights protect who we are as individuals, family members, neighbors and citizens of America. When these liberties are jeopardized, as they are now, we need strong leaders in prominent roles who are not afraid to stand up and defend our constitutional freedom.
During my 5 year stay as Judge in Branch 48 in Englewood, I was reminded every day of the importance of equal access to justice in every aspect of our judicial system. How any lack of due diligence could severely impact the often disenfranchised lives of any our citizens here in Cook County. It truly made me want to work more ardently each and every day, knowing I was doing everything I could to fairly preside over each case before me. Today, I still see that lack of equal access all across the county, and it continues to drive and inspire me while fighting for what I know is right.
I had an epiphany in the early years of my career, while working as the Administrator of the Battered Woman’s Program for the Chicago Bar Association: that women can empower themselves despite the many obstacles they face and still have the heart and will to advocate for others. That experience framed who I became as a lawyer and ultimately who I am as a Judge, one who would never be bullied or peer-pressured to act unethically, but most importantly, one who has the strength and courage to stand up for any of us whose voices have been muted or underrepresented.