For African Americans, judges matter more than Presidents. That’s why we must vote in this election
That’s because tomorrow’s election is all about judges, and while most of us will never stand before a president who’s making direct decisions about our lives and our freedom, many in our community will stand before judges.
Judges can take your freedom away in criminal court, take your children away in family court, or take your money away in civil court.
Judges have more say over our day to day lives than most other elected officials, because while legislators make laws, and executives sign laws, judges are the ones who decide what the law actually means. And in black communities—especially when it comes to criminal cases, the law’s not usually good news for us.
According to the Sentencing Project, black people are more likely to be arrested than our white counterparts. Once arrested, we’re more likely to be charged. Once charged, we’re more likely to be convicted. Once convicted, we’re more likely to face longer sentences.
We can’t afford to sit back and not vote when judges are up for election, just like we can’t afford to skip jury duty when we’re called. You can’t complain about the criminal justice system being unfair when you allow judges to get on the bench without voting. You can’t complain we’re being railroaded when you won’t serve on juries. You can’t say it’s everybody else’s fault when you had a chance to do something about it and you blew it.
Tomorrow is the biggest election of the year, because you won’t be standing in front of Joe Biden or Kamala Harris anytime soon. But someone from our community will be standing before those judges. Go vote, so we can get a fair shake.
Photo: Big Court Room By. Kevin T. Quinn