One of the 17 Black women judges elected in Houston, Texas, died after a sudden battle with cancer.
Judge Cassandra Hollemon made history being part of the Black women judges elected in Harris County during the 2018 midterms. According to The Associated Press, the 57-year-old died last Monday, almost a week after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
A viral photo of her and the other 16 women brought national attention to the county. Reports indicate the number of judges almost tripled after their historic wins.
Hollemon presided on the Harris County Criminal Court at Law No. 12. Like many of her colleagues, Hollemon wanted to reform the criminal justice system. The reformation of the cash bail system was one of the initiatives she championed.
Friends and family — some 200 people — gathered in Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church on Saturday to pay their last respects. She was described as a gentle spirit and skilled law scholar. After her spouse passed in 1992, Hollemon raised her child and continued to pursue a career in law.
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“We are going to look for someone who cannot replace [Hollemon], but someone that we believe will follow through on her mission. And I think there are some more Black women with magic,” Precinct 1 Commissioner Rodney Ellis said at the service.
Family court Judge Linda Dunson was one of those historic elected judges. She reportedly met Hollemon in 2017 and the two were friends until Hollemon's untimely passing.
“She said ‘Wait a minute, but you told me that the Democrats don’t vote (in midterms),” Dunson said. “I said I know, but I prayed, and it’s my time. She said, ‘You think I should run?’ and I said I don’t know. You’ve got to pray about and you’ll get your answer.”
According to The Houston Chronicle, the beloved judge, who received 55.6 percent of the vote, will be replaced by Harris County Commissioners Court. There are no prospective candidates for the vacancy as of this report.
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