June 2023 President's Letter

Written by National Association of Women Judges|June 08, 2023|Monthly Update Archive

toni-clarke-updated.pngAs I write this, I have recently returned from attending the International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ) Biennial Conference in Marrakech, Morocco. There were 1200 women judges representing 72 countries in attendance. It was a pageantry of colors, smiling faces, and sounds from around the world. From my observation, the United States had the third large contingent, 75 Judges, behind Argentina and Mexico. The conference brought home for me that though we are worlds apart from each other, there is more that unites us than separates us. Yet, I cannot help but think how fortunate we are as women judges in the United States, after hearing from and talking with so many judges from around the world. The IAWJ Biennial Conference Committee and Staff did a phenomenal job organizing the Conference and coordinating all events. Thank you to the IAWJ all of them.

For those who are not familiar with IAWJ’s history, it bears telling. IAWJ is the vision of NAWJ Lifetime Member, Judge Arline Pact. The year 1989, the place Washington DC. Judge Pact invited 50 judges from around the world to attend the United States Conference in Washington DC. It was there that the seed was planted and IAWJ was created. Judge Pact was the IAWJ 's first President. Some 34 years later IAWJ is a thriving and impactful organization as is evidenced by the attendance and programs at this year’s Biennial Conference. We thank Judge Pact for her vision in creating IAWJ.

May was Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. We recognized all Asian Pacific Islanders’ who have played a profoundly important role in American history. May 29th was Memorial Day. On that day we remembered and honored all those who left us too soon protecting the rights and liberties we enjoy today. We thank them, and those who are still with us who have served or are serving in the Military, for their service.

June is LGBTQ Pride Month. Pride month was first recognized in 1999. PRIDE is the acronym for Professionalism, Respect, Integrity, Diversity and Excellence. The NAWJ LGBTQ and Academic and Education Committees will host a LGBTQ Pride Month program on June 30th.

Lastly, and certainly not least. On June 19th, America will celebrate Juneteenth, commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. The name is from combining “June” and “nineteenth” celebrating the order issued on June 19, 1865, marking the day federal troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people be freed. Sadly, most enslaved people in Texas did not know they had been freed two years earlier by the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.

It is important to recognize and celebrate the cultures and heritages that make up America. “[T] hose that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Winston Churchill.

Respectfully submitted,
Judge Toni E. Clarke (Ret)
President, NAWJ

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