December 2023 President's Letter

Written by National Association of Women Judges|December 05, 2023|Monthly Update Archive

karen-sage.pngGreetings, members! The holidays are a time for gratitude, and I am feeling so grateful for all of you who serve NAWJ, especially through our committees. NAWJ has 27 active committees covering every aspect of our mission, from complex issues such as immigration and domestic violence to year-to-year tasks like bylaw amendments and conference site selection. Congratulations to our newly appointed committee chairs. If you are a committee chair, you should have received a meeting invitation from our wonderful Committees Liaison, Judge Mimi Tsankov, who is here to support you as you take on these new responsibilities. I have appointed this year’s committee members based on your responses to the emails we sent in the fall. You can see all the committee lists at Even if you were a member of a committee last year, you may not appear on the list unless you indicated your interest in serving again. If not, do not despair: you can still fill out the committee interest form on the website. Alternatively, feel free to email me at, copying our membership coordinator, Janelle Mihoc (, and we will get you on the list. Although the interest form asks you to list three preferences, there is no limit as to how many committees you may join. If you have the time and energy, I welcome your involvement.

Over the past few years, among our committees’ most important contributions have been our webinars. These webinars educate our current members and engage potential new members. Last month, we hosted two such events, and we have another planned for early next year. In early November, our Administrative Judiciary Committee presented “Pathways to the Administrative Judiciary: Many Roads, Many Destinations.” State and federal administrative Judges Francine Applewhite, Emily Chafa, Susan Formaker, Henry Hamilton, and Angela Robinson shared their own paths to the bench and provided great insight for lawyers seeking to make that professional move. And just last week, our Ensuring Racial Equity in the Justice System Committee hosted “Children are Different: The Juvenile Brain and the Justice System,” featuring the Juvenile Law Center’s Marsha Levick and Yale University’s Dr. BJ Casey. They led a fascinating discussion of neuroscience, its evolution, and its role in juvenile sentencing in pivotal cases across the country. If you missed these webinars, they (and many other informative programs) are available on demand to our members through our website.

In early February, 2024, our Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare Committee will present “Girls in the System: A Journey Through the Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice Systems.” Our committee co-chairs, the Hon. Ernestine Gray and the Hon. Joy Lebrano, have been working on this project, and I am sure that it, too, will be an excellent educational opportunity. This type of cutting-edge judicial education is one of the greatest benefits that NAWJ provides to its members, and we could not offer it without the imagination and hard work of our committees.

Once again, thank you for your involvement and dedication to NAWJ. I wish the very best for you. May your holidays be filled with many blessings, and may you be surrounded by your loved ones.

Respectfully submitted,
Judge Karen R. Sage
NAWJ President

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