Our Diversity on the Bench: New Voices, Better Society
On Thursday, June 8 at 3pm EDT, Judge Darrin Gayles, Judge Staci Yandle, and Judge Jamar K. Walker will speak on the panel: “Our Diversity on the Bench: New Voices, Better Society.” Co-hosted by Alliance for Justice, LGBTQ+ Victory Institute, the Black Leaders Caucus, and the Washington Bar Association, this event will be a discussion of the importance of having more Black LGBTQ+ judges on the bench to ensure justice for all. The panel will be moderated by AFJ President Rakim Brooks and Chair of the Black Leaders Caucus Justin L. Hill.
In 2014, President Barack Obama added much needed diversity to the federal courts by nominating Judge Staci Yandle to serve as a United States District Court Judge for the Southern District of Illinois and Judge Darrin Gayles to serve as a United States District Court Judge for the Southern District of Florida. Judge Gayles became the first Black openly gay man to be a federal judge, and Judge Yandle became the second Black lesbian to become a federal judge in the United States. Their appointments riveted those of us who had dreams of being a judge at the local, state, and federal level and helped many people reimagine who could receive a presidential appointment and Senate confirmation for the federal bench. Slowly across our country, we have seen this trend continue and grow. In March 2023, Judge Jamar K. Walker, a President Biden judicial nominee, was sworn in as a United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Virginia. Judge Walker is the first openly LGBTQ+ federal judge in Virginia and the second gay Black man in the Article III judiciary. It is time to celebrate, reflect, and push forward.