The 2018 midterms elections were a time of tumult, and along with great upsets came great successes. One of these massive successes–one that many people overlooked during the hectic couple days–is the fact that 19 black women judge candidates in Harris County, Texas all won. Every one of the candidacies or re-election bids resulted in success and election.
This is not only a humbling moment in the sphere of social justice but also an incredible barrier was broken for the future of Texas and the future for people of color. One of the most profound victories within this mix was that of Lina Hidalgo. Hidalgo holds a political science degree from Stanford University–the same year in which she graduated she also became a citizen of the United States. She was born in Colombia and raised in Peru and Mexico before moving with her family to the United States in 2005.
Hidalgo, a Democrat, successfully unseated the long-term serving judge, Ed Emmett. This is a prolific victory as it signified not only a change of party but simultaneously a major demographic shift. Overall these 19 women were amongst 38 democratic judges elected, thus comprising approximately half of the democratic judges-elect. This goes against historical paradigms. Lori Chamber Gray, one of the judges from this group, commented on this: “I have dealt with a lot of judges in the last 30 years. Many of them were great judges, very experienced. But few were women, and even fewer were African American. And because I do a lot of criminal defense work, a lot of my clients are either African American or Hispanic.”
Of course, although this is a major political victory on behalf of the democratic party, we must also count it as so much more. It is an exceptional social victory and one that nonetheless fights back against the patterns that have so often been present within the American political system. It provides a beacon of representation for those younger women of color to follow and opens political opportunities that have appeared unattainable at many points during the history of America.
So in honor of this tremendous social and political milestone–congratulations to those 19 women of color and please keep working to make the world one in which people of every origin, orientation, and identity can see themselves projected and represented in the political system.