WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 19, 2015) — St. Louis Circuit Judge Jimmie Edwards is collaborating with national leaders seeking to restore public trust and confidence in state courts, particularly among minority and economically disadvantaged communities.
Edwards participated in the two-day inaugural conference of the National Advisory Board on Community Engagement in the State Courts Oct. 15-16 in Washington. The 16-member board is part of the National Center for State Courts’ Conference of Chief Justices and National Consortium for Racial and Ethnic Fairness.
The advisory board will meet approximately monthly to remove the gap in trust and confidence in the courts between minorities and white non-Hispanics.
The growing gap has been evident in polling over four decades but has become more pronounced over the past year with such cases as those of Michael Brown in Missouri, Trayvon Martin in Florida, and Eric Gardner in New York. The goal of the board is to establish an engagement strategy that will increase public trust and confidence in the courts through dialogue and developing meaningful relationships built upon respect and understanding.
The Honorable Eric T. Washington, chief judge of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, is chairman of the advisory board. In addition to Edwards, the other members are:
- The Rev. Aundreia Alexander of the National Council of Churches.
- The Honorable Anna Blackburne-Rigsby, the D.C. Court of Appeals.
- Cornell W. Brooks, president and CEO of the NAACP.
- Paulette Brown, president of the American Bar Association.
- The Honorable Tani G. Cantil-Sankauye, chief justice of the Supreme Court of California.
- The Honorable Edward C. Clifton, retired, Superior Court of Rhode Island.
- Jennifer Farmer, managing director of communications for the Advancement Project.
- Ivan K. Fong, senior vice president, legal affairs, and general counsel, 3M Company.
- Beatrice Garza, president and CEO of the Association for Advancement of Mexican Americans.
- Lorretta Johnson, secretary-treasurer, American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO.
- The Honorable Jonathan Lippman, chief judge, New York State Unified Court System.
- The Honorable Eduardo Padro, New York Supreme Court.
- The Rev. Rob Schenck of Faith and Action
- Tavis Smiley, broadcaster, executive producer and CEO, The Smiley Group, Inc.