In a historic result, 17 black female county judges have been elected in the US state of Texas.
The group applied together on a Democratic ticket and all of them won, despite being the the largest number of black women ever seen on any ballot in Harris County.
They join two more female black judges who were already in their posts, with the group being dubbed the Houston 19.
The result in the US midterm elections is a remarkable success for the Democratic party, in the state where Democrat Beto O’Rourke narrowly lost out to Republican Ted Cruz in the senatorial race.
The new county judges’ victory comes off the back of a hugely successful social media campaign in which they were dubbed the Houston 19, along with the slogan “Black Girl Magic”.
Their victory is underlined by statistics reported by the Gavel Gap and collected by the American Constitution Society, which show only 12% of Texas’ state court judges are non-white women, despite that demographic making up 28% of the overall population.
Meanwhile 52% of the state’s judges are white males despite them forming 21% of the population.
The 19 elected will now have judicial and administrative duties such as presiding over minor criminal and civil cases.
“I have dealt with a lot of judges in the last 30 years. Many of them were great judges, very experienced. But few were women and even fewer were African American,” one of the group, Lori Chamber Gray, told Fox 26.
“I do a lot of criminal defence work, a lot of my clients are either African American or Hispanic… We bring an understanding of a person who may come from that similar background.”
Many took to social media to celebrate the Houston 19’s victory, reusing their eponymous hashtag.
The 19 newly-elected judges are Sandra Peake, Judge Ramona Franklin, Judge Maria Jackson, Germaine Tanner, Angela Graves-Harrington, Cassandra Holleman, Tonya Jones, Dedra Davis, LaShawn Williams, Latosha Lewis Payne, Linda Dunson, Toria Finch, Erica Hughes, Lucia Bates, Ronnisha Bowman, Michelle Moore, Sharon Burney, Shannon Baldwin, and Lori Chambers Gray.
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