Written by Karen Sage|April 26, 2018|News

On April 26, 2018, the National Association of Women Judges, District 11 Director and 299th District Court Judge Karen Sage, in partnership with the Travis County Women Lawyers Association (TCWLA), and the University of Texas School of Law William Wayne Justice Center for Public Law, along with several sponsoring law firms, and Jackson Walker LLP held the eleventh annual educational, informative Color of Justice Event for Austin’s youth. There were approximately 70 primarily minority students from East Austin College Preparatory, Akins High School, and Martin Middle School.

The event featured two panel discussions with speakers sharing their personal experiences and backgrounds, encouraging the students to pursue a career in law, discussing the importance of personal commitment and perseverance, and the role and importance of lawyers and judges in our society. The first panel, titled “The Color of Justice: Making a Difference,” was led by several esteemed judges: Judge Brandy Mueller, Travis County Criminal Court at Law #6; Travis County Judges Orlinda Naranjo, 419th Judicial District and NAWJ Vice Chair of Districts; Brad Urrutia, 450th Criminal District Court; and Associate Juvenile Judge Texana Davis. The moderator was Judge Karen Sage.

The second panel, titled “Law as a Career: Preparing the Way” featured legal professionals: Paige Duggins, Clerk to Texas Supreme Court Justice Jeff Boyd, Ciara Parks, Asst. District Attorney, Jorge Padilla, Partner with Jackson Walker LLP, and Adriana Reyes, K & L Gates. The moderator was Jennifer Hopgood, Assistant Attorney General and TCWLA Chair of the Color of Justice Program.

As part of the program, NAWJ Judges Sage and Naranjo presented University of Texas second year law student Harjeen Zibari, a $1,000 “Access to Justice Scholarship” given by NAWJ for her demonstrated and passionate commitment to the enforcing civil and human rights. Ms. Zibari has worked extensively within her Kurdish community where most female Kurdish immigrants have limited education, including her work at the Capital Area Private Defenders and the Human Rights Initiative of North Texas. She shared how she became interested in the law and her own experience back in her home country of Kurdistan (fka Northern Iraq) including the invasion nearby by ISIS.

After the program many of the speakers and law students joined the students for lunch and discussions about the law as a career.

Another highlight was the presentation of two dozen roses by Professor Mary Crouter and Judge Karen Sage to Judge Naranjo, along with the book entitled Witness for Justice by Allen Pogue and signed by the Law School Dean Ward Farnsworth, in appreciation of Judge Naranjo’s many years of dedication to the Color of Justice Program that emphasize the rule of law and provide opportunities for our youth to be exposed to mentors and to allow them to envision that they too could be a judge or lawyer.


For more information about the National Association of Women Judges, email

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