“Let black woman lead” is the mantra, and it looks as if one city in Georgia has taken it to heart.
Only a year after the creation of the fifth largest city in the state of Georgia, South Fulton has every aspect of its criminal justice system run by an African American woman, and unsurprisingly, its approach to criminal justice is one of the most progressive in the nation.
The Atlanta Voice recently did a cover story with eight women at the South Fulton County courthouse dressed in black on its cover. To use a popular but never tiring phrase, it is the epitome of black girl magic.
— Philadelphia Tribune (@PhillyTrib) June 8, 2018
Six of the woman run the most important law enforcement positions in the city including:
- Chief of Police Sheila Rogers
- Chief Judge Tiffany Carter Sellers
- Court administrator Lakesiya Cofield
- Chief Court Clerk Ramona Howard.
- City Solicitor LaDawn “LBJ” Jones
- City Public Defender Viveca Famber Powell
According to the Atlanta Voice, these black women are quite deliberate in the way in which they carry out their duties to the citizens of the city.
“Our goal is to ensure justice for everyone,” said Judge Seller, who appointed Cofield as court administrator. “However, as African American women we are sensitive to the history of criminal justice in our country. We want to be an example of how to do things right.”
There are other examples of “doing things right.”
Incorporated in the foundation of the City of South Fulton’s municipal court policies include guaranteed access to an attorney, a robust diversion program, (“Second Chance South Fulton”) infused into and paid for by the court, and overall respect for victims and the accused alike.
Sellers insists on courtroom decorum that shows respect to the accused, victims, and visitors. She hopes to restore faith in the justice system that has failed many.
“One of the primary purposes of laws is to protect citizens and the city,” Jones, who runs Second Chance, explained. “You can do that without sending everyone to jail or enforce high fees. Most people do better when they know better.”
In South Fulton, everyone that appears before the court also has an opportunity to receive appointed counsel prior to making a decision on their case.
“Having an opportunity to advise clients ensures justice is received by all,” says City Public Defender Viveca Famber Powell
Come November, if Stacey Abrams wins the governorship, we might all have to pack up and hit the Peach State—at least for vacation.
source: the root