Contact: Ed "Flash" Ferenc, Public information Officer
Cleveland Municipal Court
(Cleveland) – Ohio Supreme Court Justice Yvette McGee Brown delivered a spirited address to over 350 attendees of the Cleveland Municipal Court’s Centennial Gala, Saturday, September 15th at the Doubletree Hotel in downtown Cleveland.
“We have over 700 judges in this state, only 25% of them are women and only 7% of them are people of color. Even though I was the first African American woman to serve on the court in 208 years, I was the first person of color to join the court since 1973. That must never happen again. We are a big state, we are a diverse state and I think everyone can all agree that we should not be a state that reflects only one party or only one race.”
Justice Brown told the judges in the room to do what their predecessors did.
“They didn’t accept what was, they lead with excellence, said Justice Brown, who then challenged those in the room.
“You have to understand that you have the privilege of being in public service, you have the privilege of making a difference and when those people come into your court, you are their first opportunity to seek justice. You are the person that makes justice real to them. As we jokingly say in Franklin County, you are the M.A.S.H. unit of the judiciary. You triage people. You stitch them up fast and send them out.”
Justice Brown pointed out many people involved in the justice system do not understand what’s happening to them, but that’s where the judges come in.
“We have a chance to teach them about this magnificent system of justice of ours. We have the opportunity to try to find a way to heal whatever has caused them to come our way. Think about how you can change those lives.”
Justice Brown praised the Court’s many programs designed to curtail problems like drug abuse and domestic violence, but she said that’s just the beginning.
“If we have the opportunity to help, we ought to do it. Whether it’s helping them learn to read, connecting them with a literacy program, a job skills program or just finding a way to get them the services they need. You have power. Use your power for good, honor the hundred years. Be willing to step out of your chambers. Be willing to call a meeting and make a difference,” she said.
Prior to Justice Brown’s remarks, the Court presented service recognition awards to several people including Jean Murrell Capers, who at the age of 99 is the oldest retired judge in the State of Ohio.
Fox 8 News Anchor Wayne Dawson served as the Master of Ceremony.
The Cleveland Municipal Court (www.cmcoh.org) is the oldest court in Ohio and the second oldest municipal court in the country. It was established by an act of the Ohio General Assembly and opened its doors on January 2, 1912 in the old courthouse located on the northwest corner of Public Square, which has since become a parking lot. The court moved to its current location in the Justice Center in 1977.
Click here to view pictures from The Gala.
VIDEO: Justice Yvette McGee Brown speech at the
Cleveland Municipal Court Centennial Gala.