A Texas county was swept up in a wonderful wave of Black girl magic when it swore in 17 Black female judges on New Year’s Day.

The group is believed to be the largest number of Black female judges to ever be elected simultaneously in Harris County history, according to CNN. Harris County, which includes Houston, is the largest county in the state with more than 4 million residents. Most of the county’s citizens are people of color; 43 percent of its population identify as Latinx, and about 20 percent of the population is Black.

The swearing in ceremony for the women was open to the public, and the room was full of people ready to witness history.



Erica Hughes, an incoming criminal court judge, said she felt like a schoolgirl again as she prepared for the big day.

“I even have my stuff laid out on the bed. Kind of like the first day of school,” Hughes told KHOU.

Hughes and her colleagues hope they can use their positions to reform a flawed criminal justice system and to motivate young women to follow in their footsteps. Together, the new judges have more than 200 years of legal experience.

Angela Graves-Harrington hopes her time on the bench can inspire all those people who wondered if they could achieve great things. "Yes you can,” she said.

Latosha Lewis Payne plans to come to judgeship with an agenda. “I for one am looking into making sure that every person who has a legal case, has an equal opportunity for justice,” she said.

Hughes wants the same, and agrees change is necessary.

“Most of the offenses are low level offenses and we’ve done research. I’ve looked at research that people need to have rehabilitation,” Hughes said.

Lina Hidalgo, a 27-year-old Colombian immigrant, was also sworn in as a county judge during the ceremony.

"We made history in Harris County on November 6 by electing a talented group of individuals who reflect the people and communities we serve," she said in a press release. "That would not have been possible without the support of the residents of Harris County."

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