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First black woman elected to the superior court of Pa, said the change will come with people exercising “everyday power.”

It’s been more than six decades since Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka ruled that schools shouldn’t be segregated by race. And it’s been more than five decades since Fannie Lou Hamer was beaten nearly to death at a county jail for defying the “whites only” rule on a bus and at a lunch counter.But the civil rights fights of the mid-1900s don’t feel that far away, said Judge Carolyn Nichols, the first black woman to be elected to the Superior Court of Pennsylvania. Hate crimes are on rise. Schools are increasingly segregated. Prisons are disproportionately filled with black Americans.“The more things change, the more they stay the same,” she said. Nichols was the keynote speaker at the 73rd annual Freedom Fund Banquet, an Allentown NAACP fundraiser for youth programming. Nichols stressed the only way to fight against injustices is to get involved in elections, communities and issues. And that responsibility falls on everyone, everyday. “All of us today have everyday power,” she said. That message resonated with Phoebe Harris, an Allentown school board member who attended the NAACP event. She ran for her position in 2017 with no professional experience in politics because she wanted to fight against the policies of President Donald Trump she said. Barbara Redmond, the secretary of the Allentown NAACP, said she wants more women to look to Nichols as an example. Too often, women stay on the sidelines supporting men who are fighting for social change, running for offices or building careers, she said. “Our women need to be recognized,” Redmond said.Nichols’ work and activism have won many awards, including when Philadelphia Tribune recognized her as one of the city’s most influential African Americans.Before her election to the superior court, Nichols was a judge on Philadelphia county court, and also advocated for programs to keep people from returning to jail, to help people gain employment and to improve the relationship between police and community members.Nichols also reminded the black community of their power, sharing a Martin Luther King Jr. quote about how the revolution started quietly, but has the power to change the world. “But when it struck, the revealing flash of its power and the impact of its sincerity and fervor displayed a force of a frightening intensity,” she said, quoting King. During her speech, she talked about young people dying from gun violence, people locked up in prison because of unforgiving criminal justice laws, and poverty that prevents generations of people from escaping the tough lives their parents lived. “The time is now for everyday people power,” she repeated.
Source: Morningcall

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