NAWJ Monthly Update June 2021

Written by National Association of Women Judges|June 02, 2021|Monthly Update Archive

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Monthly Update

June 2021
Volume 19, Issue 6

Dear Colleagues and Friends,
I called and once again, several of our wonderful members stepped up to represent NAWJ and volunteer their time. Last month I asked for volunteers to some of the groups that we collaborate with. I’m constantly inspired by your commitment to NAWJ and your communities. Thank you to all of you who volunteered.

Sr. Judge Orlinda Naranjo was appointed to the NCJFCJ DEI Collaboration and Doreen Boxer as NAWJ liaison to the ABA Commission of Domestic & Sexual Violence. Thank you to Judge Terrie Roberts and Judge Vivian Medinilla for your prior service in these roles.  Resource Board member Diane McGimsey has been appointed to the #WeToo Advisory Committee.

I am pleased to announce that Laurie Denham has accepted the offer to serve as permanent Executive Director, effective July 1st. We heard from many applicants, but Laurie clearly rose to the top and the ED Hiring Committee unanimously agreed that she is the best fit for NAWJ at this time. The hiring committee will be working with Laurie to hire a Development Director, so that Laurie can concentrate on what she does best: building relationships, helping with program planning, assisting us as we implement our 5-year strategic plan, working with our members and looking for new ways to ensure the stability and vitality of NAWJ. Please join me in congratulating Laurie.

I hope you will join us on June 4th for the 3rd IFPSD and NAWJ Day at the United Nations. The program this year focuses upon women in the Middle East and Africa and on the global impact of COVID on women. NAWJ Co-Chairs Judge Lisa Walsh, Col. Linda Murnane, along with President and Permanent Representative of the International Federation for Peace and Sustainable Development to the U.N., Salwa (Sally) Kader, have planned a wonderful program which will include educational sessions, an International Tea and Ethics session, a virtual UN tour and a reception.

July will mark the 16th annual NAWJ meeting with the Congressional Women’s Caucus. Judge Toni Clarke and Judge Anita Josey-Herring have chosen the theme of Reimagining Access to Justice: Post Pandemic for this year’s event. It will take place on July 9th from 1:00 PM– 3:00 PM (EDT).

The most exciting news I have to share is that registration for our in-person annual conference will open in a few short weeks. Please save the dates of October 6 – 10 and start exploring air fare. Judge Barbara Holmes and her outstanding committee have put together a wonderful program and look forward to welcoming all of us to Nashville.
Judge Karen Donohue
King County Superior Court
NAWJ President


Join us on June 4, 2021, as NAWJ hosts its third annual “Day at the United Nations.”
The theme for this year's virtual conference is “Moving Forward; Falling Behind: Achieving Full Empowerment of Women During a Global Pandemic.”

NAWJ co-hosts Colonel Linda Murnane and Hon. Lisa Walsh are honored to present this conference with co-host International Federation for Peace and Sustainable Development (IFPSD), founded and led by CEO Salwa Kader, NAWJ member, supporter and long-time friend. Founded in 2001, the IFPSD through its presence on five continents, has raised awareness and developed programming to reinforce the United Nation’s commitment to international peace, security and justice through education, public relations and community outreach initiatives. The IFPSD focuses its efforts across the following key subject pillars:   Women’s Empowerment, Human Rights,  Human Trafficking, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Interfaith Dialogue, Protection of Cultural Heritage, and Family Health.

This year's program focuses upon women in the Middle East and Africa and on the global impact of COVID on women. Following a welcome session with prominent diplomats and dignitaries, Colonel Linda Murnane will moderate a discussion with Ms. Rachel Irura, Head of the Witness Support and Protection Unit for the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals. Following this session, Ms. Kader will moderate a discussion with diplomatic and political leadership in the Middle East on the effects of gender upon statelessness and women’s rights in the region. Following these sessions, NAWJ will host our popular  “Tea and Ethics,” inviting  judges from around the world, with the assistance of the U.S. State Department Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, to join us in discussion of issues affecting their home countries. Following Tea and Ethics, the IFPSD offers an optional virtual tour of the United Nations, led by a United Nations docent. 

You don't want to miss this unique event.


The ABA International Law Section presents a three - day “Global Women Series” virtual conference that includes a daily 90 – minute panel exploring international women’s issues. Presentations by internationally renowned speakers from around the world focus on three noteworthy commemorations: (i) Juneteenth, (ii) the 20th anniversary of World Refugee Day, and (iii) the 75th Anniversary of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).

Each program highlights issues and challenges faced by women of yesterday, today, and tomorrow including racism, gender inequality, women seeking asylum in the US, feminist foreign policy, and women’s rights.  Click here to register and read more on each individual session.


Galicia Rothe is a rising 2L at Roger Williams University School of Law in Rhode Island. Prior to embarking on her legal career, Galicia earned her Bachelor's degree in Women's and Gender Studies from Wheaton College in Massachusetts, which sparked her interest in studying the law, especially as it pertains to women's rights. Click here to read more on Galicia.


NAWJ’s Ensuring Racial Equity Committee, an under-committee of NAWJ’s Access to Fairness Committee, as well as the Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare Committee, are partnering to bring us an exciting webinar on July 22, 2021, titled: “Disrupting the School to Prison Pipeline.”  The purpose of the webinar, which will be the first in a series, is to discuss the correlation between the suspension and expulsion rates for youth of color and their subsequent disproportionate representation in the juvenile, foster care, and family court systems.

The panelists for the webinar are Past President of the National Council for Juvenile and Family Courts and Texas Third Court of Appeals Chief Justice Darlene Byrne; San Diego State University Dean’s Distinguished Professor of Education and Vice President of Student Affairs and Campus Diversity, Dr. Luke Wood; and Mr. Jarrell Daniels, a former incarcerated youth who is a 2021 Truman Scholar at Columbia University and a leader in youth justice endeavors.  Registration opening soon!


The NAWJ Human Trafficking Committee, co-chaired by Judge Ann Breen-Greco and San Diego District Attorney Summer Stephan, is planning a webinar for July 7th, entitled The Intersection of Human Trafficking, Immigration, and LGBTQ Members.  Confirmed speakers include: Moderator Judge Ellie Finn; San Diego D.A. Summer Stephan; Judge Bobbie McCartney; Jessica O'Connor, Deputy Chief, Special Victims Unit, Assistant District Attorney, Florida 13th Judicial Circuit; and Carmen G. Kcomt, Human Trafficking & Domestic Violence Programs Director.


NAWJ 16th Annual Meeting with Congressional Women's Caucus
July 9, 2021

NAWJ 43rd Annual Conference
October 6-10, 2021

Ms. Abigayle C. Bates, Massachusetts School of Law, Auburn, ME
Hon. Sheila Garcia Bence, Cameron County Court At Law No. 4, Brownsville, TX
Mrs. Rajae Bouganza, Massachusetts School of Law, Winthrop, MA
Hon. Jerri Saunders Bryant, Chancery Court, Athens, TN
Ms. Mariah L. Cajuste, Massachusetts School of Law, Holliston, MA
Hon. Denise M. Fortenberry, 130th Judicial District Court, Bay City, TX
Hon. Rachel E. Freier, NYC Civil Court, Brooklyn, NY
Ms. Holly D. Garcia, Massachusetts School of Law, Everett, MA
Miss Sovmya George, Massachusetts School of Law, Lowell, MA
Ms. Rachel L. Jensen, Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP, San Diego, CA
Hon. Shanice Johnson, State of Arkansas, Little Rock, AR
Ms. Bevie Ketel, Massachusetts School of Law, Madbury, NH
Ms. Alicia MacArthur, Massachusetts School of Law, Saugus, MA
Hon. Julia A. Maldonado, 507th Family District Court, Houston, TX
Ms. Shauntel A. Martin, Massachusetts School of Law, Woonsocket, RI
Hon. Lynda B. McCafferty, U.S. District Court in New Hampshire, Concord, NH
Miss Jylan Megahed, M E G A H E D, E S Q., Inc., La Jolla, CA
Hon. E. Grace Park, NYS OCA, New York, NY
Hon. Josefina M. Rendon, Harris County Justice Courts, Houston, TX
Hon. Jane M. Reynolds, Spotsylvania General District Court, Spotsylvania, VA
Hon. Cathy Anne Riggs, Desert Ridge Justice Court, Scottsdale, AZ
Hon. Dylan Sullivan, El Dorado County, Cameron Park, CA
Hon. Meredith A. Vacca, Monroe County Court, Rochester, NY
Hon. Beth Walker, Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia, Charleston, WV


This section recognizes those in our NAWJ community, and keeps our members apprised of notable news going on around the country. Please share any news from your district, yourself, or a member within the NAWJ community on this form so we can include in upcoming NAWJ communications. 

The Honorable Candice Garcia-Rodrigo Appointed to San Bernardino Superior Court - Honorable Candice A. Garcia-Rodrigo of Riverside, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the San Bernardino Superior Court. Garcia-Rodrigo has served as a Commissioner at the Riverside Superior Court since 2018. Click here to read more on Judge Garcia-Rodrigo's appointment,

The Honorable Celeste Bremer Moves to Recall Status - U.S. Magistrate Judge Celeste F. Bremer moves to Recall Status effective June 1, 2021. She was appointed as a half-time U. S. Magistrate Judge in 1985 for the Southern District of Iowa. She has held the position full-time since January 1990. She will continue to work in the Southern District of Iowa, and other Districts as requested. Click here to read more.

The Honorable Susan Block Recipient of Multiple Honors - NAWJ Member Judge (Ret.) Susan E. Block was recently elected to the board of Missouri Foundation for Health. In addition, she was named as a member of the St. Louis Business Journal's inaugural class of "Business of Pride Award" honorees, as well as being selected as a Woman of the Year for the Greater Missouri Leadership Institute. Click here to read more.
NAWJ is grateful for the 2021 Resource Board Members and Landmark Sponsors who generously supported our organization.

Resource Board Members
Nicole Erb, Esq. (Co-Chair), White & Case LLP
Sarah London, Esq. (Co-Chair), Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP
Elizabeth Cabraser, Esq., Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP
Kelly Dermody, Esq., Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP
Robert Kaufman, Esq., Proskauer Rose LLP
Heather McDevitt, Esq., White & Case LLP
Diane McGimsey, Esq., Sullivan & Cromwell LLP
Linda Leali, Esq., Linda Leali, P.A.
Thomas Leighton, Thomson Reuters
The Honorable Mary Becnel, Retired
Ron DaLessio, CourtCall
Dawn Jayma, The Killino Firm, PC
Afsoon McClellan, LexisNexis
Donna Melby, Esq., Paul Hastings
Elaine Metlin, Esq., Retired
Christopher Poole, JAMS
Cathy Winter-Palmer, Retired
Landmark Sponsors
The Honorable Mary Becnel
Robert Kaufman
Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP
Thomson Reuters Corporation
White & Case LLP

JAMS, Inc.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP


Did you know you can support NAWJ when you are shopping through Amazon?  AmazonSmile is a way for you to support a charitable organization every time you shop, at no cost to you.  AmazonSmile will donate 0.5% of your eligible purchases to NAWJ when you select us as your charitable organization of choice.  Get started today by enrolling as an AmazonSmile customer or selecting NAWJ as your organization of choice if you are already enrolled.


District 4 members have been busy in planning upcoming regional activities, including a partnership with the D.C. Department of Corrections (DOC) to bring an Empowerment Series of conversations for women residents of DOC. Click here to read more on that program and other updates on District 4 members.


District 11 members continue on their active streak: participating in monthly social hour sessions, welcoming a stream of new members, and celebrating Texas Women Judges Day.  Click here to read more details on all the recent events in District 11.


You can also support NAWJ through purchases made with Robot Bunnies, including RBG and Kamala Harris masks.  Use the code NAWJ and 15% of the sale will be donated to NAWJ. Robot Bunnies is a woman-owned business that makes inspired versions of fashion & lifestyle classics with indie-artist-created patterns, the finest materials and artisanal production techniques. We infuse everything we do with style, humor and quality.  Ours are the forever items, the singular, treasured possessions that ALWAYS spark joy.


Since its formation in 1979, NAWJ has inspired and led the American judiciary in achieving fairness and equality for vulnerable populations. 

NAWJ’s mission is to promote the judicial role of protecting the rights of individuals under the rule of law through strong, committed, diverse judicial leadership; fairness and equality in the courts; and equal access to justice.



Day at the United Nations
June 4, 2021

Global Women Series presented by ABA International Law Section
June 15-17, 2021

NAWJ 16th Annual Meeting with Congressional Women's Caucus
July 9, 2021

Disrupting the School to Prison Pipeline, Part 1 Webinar
July 22, 2021

NAWJ 43rd Annual Conference
October 6-10, 2021

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