Georgia was founded in January 2, 1788. For the first time in 232 years, there are seven African American women as the lead prosecutors in some of the State’s largest counties. Last night’s runoff election solidified that Dekalb, Cobb, Clayton, Douglas, Rockdale, Macon, and Fulton will all have black women as their District Attorney’s.
I can hear someone typing in the comment section, “why is it always about race?” Let me connect the dots for you.
First, it’s an accomplishment worthy of celebration by all Georgians. We all know about America’s history of slavery, Georgia’s succession into the confederacy, and the state’s history of legislated racial discrimination well into the Civil Rights Era. Georgia’s history is full of systemically created limits on who could hold these offices.
These women worked hard and earned their positions like all of the prosecutors who came before them. The fact they were not prohibited based on their gender or their race shows some progress. Let us all take a moment to appreciate that.
Second, it is about race because we know our country has been in a state of race based unrest for several months. All Americans concern themselves with government overreach. It is our duty.
In the past we have fought about government overreach in taxation, property rights, and gun rights. Right now, and since around 1865, African Americans are fighting for the specific right to be free from excessive force at the hands of law enforcement and the constitutional presumption of innocence until proven guilty.
Whether you agree or disagree with the Black Lives Matter movement, this historic opportunity gives the top prosecutors in the metro area a stab at addressing the legal issues around excessive force in their counties. As district attorney, these women can use their discretion to decide to prosecute the bad cops and protect the good ones. The way we have done it traditionally, is not working.
What can a black woman lawyer do that the white male district attorneys before them could not? Although they will apply the same laws, they will do it from another point of view. Think of how a Jeff Bezos sees Amazon compared to how one of the Amazon Prime warehouse workers looks at the same company. The privileges that made these women the first in more than two hundred years, are the same privileges that makes it likely their perspectives will be different than many of the white males that came before them.
To be clear, I’m not claiming that their views are superior. Simply different. It is perfectly okay that our views of America vary, as long as we are all headed towards the notion that all men and women are created equal, with the unalienable rights including life and liberty.
Congratulations ladies. Congratulations Georgia.
An original version of this post read “six” women DA’s, in reference to those in the metro-Atlanta area. However, throughout the state, as of the run-off election on August 11, 2020, there will be seven (7) African American District Attorneys. Attorney Anita Reynolds Howard was excluded in error.
DeKalb County District Attorney – Sherry Boston
Cobb County District Attorney – Joyette Holmes
Clayton County District Attorney – Tasha Mosley
Douglas County District Attorney (elect) – Dalia Racine
Rockdale County District Attorney – Alisha Johnson
Fulton County District Attorney (elect) – Fani T. Willis
Macon County District Attorney (elect) – Anita Howard