December 2018: The Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia, Inc. Condemns the Race and Gender-Based Intimidation of the Honorable Karen Y. Simmons
The Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia, Inc. condemns the sending of a racist and sexist intimidation letter to the Honorable Karen Y. Simmons on Tuesday, December 11, 2018 in advance of the Philadelphia Municipal Court’s election for President Judge.
The typewritten hate speech sent to Judge Simmons stated that “there will never be a Black B**** running ‘our court.’” This message, explicit in its opposition of Judge Simmons’ ability to lead the Philadelphia Municipal Court as a black female, is abhorrent. For too long, the hateful have sought to use anonymous, racist speech and actions to inspire fear in black people in an effort to subdue them, but cowards seeking to shield themselves from the consequences of their actions must be made to answer for their activity. Equally vile in the message is the purposefully placed attack on Judge Simmons’ gender identity as woman, but she, unlike the surreptitious sender(s) of this menacing message, will not be quashed.
The delivery of this letter, through interoffice mail and to the robing room, a restricted area adjacent to the courtroom accessible only by invitation of the Judge or a credentialed employee of the First Judicial District, suggests that the letter was delivered by or with the help of an employee of the First Judicial District. The First Judicial District cannot allow this behavior to go unaddressed. It must determine the origin of the letter and remove its sender(s) and all who knowingly facilitated the delivery of the sentiment from their posts within the Court forthwith. As an arbiter of the laws of this Commonwealth and the City and County of Philadelphia, there is no room for endorsement of racist or sexist ideals by the individuals tasked with enforcing laws fairly and upholding the integrity of our judicial system.
Trailblazing black female judges in the esteemed and demanding positions of President Judge and Administrative Judge of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas have served in these positions with demonstrated poise, dignity and acuity. We stand with Judge Simmons, former Chair of The Clifford Scott Green Chapter of the National Bar Association Judicial Council, and a longstanding member of the Advisory Board of the Barristers Association of Philadelphia, Inc., whose capability as a jurist and leader is manifest.
ABOUT THE BARRISTERS’ ASSOCIATION OF PHILADELPHIA, INC.
The Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia, Inc., an affiliate of the National Bar Association, encompasses over 1,000 attorneys who serve in private and public sectors of the legal profession. Visit www.phillybarristers.com; email firstname.lastname@example.org; follow us @BarristersPA.