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Laurel Beatty Blunt
Executive Committee Members
Janaya Trotter Bratton
Anita Laster Mays
Lauren C. Moore
Michael L. Nelson
It is our pleasure to serve as the Founding Co-Chairs of the Ohio Black Judges Association, Inc (OBJA). We view this convening moment as long overdue. Ohio had its first Black Judge in 1942. Now, almost 80 years later, the number has increased to only 56 judges concentrated in only 9 of Ohio’s 88 counties.
We believe that the public is best served when its elected official are representative of the populace. To that end, we are committed to bringing awareness to the need for greater diversity throughout Ohio’s judiciary. We are also committed to helping the public understand the need to ensure that our justice system is not only fair but perceived to be fair. By all who have a reason to invoke its authority. We believe that it is our responsibility to educate the public about the way that the system works, how to recognize when it fails and, finally, how to work to improve the overall administration of justice.
OBJA is committed to illuminating issues of implicit and explicit bias, procedural fairness and racial fairness through our daily example, as well as through continuing education for the legal professional we work beside and the community as a whole. As the ultimate insiders, we see it as our responsibility to make sure that, to the degree possible, Ohio’s justice system provides similar outcomes for similar issues, without regards for extraneous matters such as race, sex, religion, ethnicity or sexual orientation. OBJA was founded with the ideal of protecting, amplifying, and growing the voices of all those who share our commitment to improve the administration of justice in Ohio’s courts. We are overjoyed at the overwhelming response to this undertaking from those Ohio judicial officers who have become members and those who have expressed support for the values that the OBJA espouses. We are confident that our efforts will enhance Ohio’s judiciary for many years to come!
Hon. Emanuella D. Groves & Hon. Cassandra Collier-Williams
Ohio Black Judges Association, Inc.