The RLD Black History Month segment continues with our Legal Divas of Color. Black history is always evolving, with people of color breaking barriers and challenging stereotypes.
Often when folks think of millennials, they think of a spoiled generation who lives at home for as long as they can.
Jasmine Twitty challenged that perception by becoming the youngest judge in South Carolina history in August of 2015. At the age of 25, she has reached a goal that, as many can attest, others have spent their lives pursuing with no success.
Judge Twitty is a Greenville, South Carolina native. She graduated from the College of Charleston with a degree in Political Science. Before ascending to the bench, she was a court clerk in Greenville’s 24 hour bond court. She worked nights and weekends, learning about the court system. In 2011, she decided that becoming a municipal judge was the path for her. As she put it in an interview with Jenna Regan of the blog “Smart Girls”, she became intentional about her goal.
She sought a judicial appointment in the town of Easley, South Carolina. In South Carolina, the city council is the body that appoints judges for the municipal court. It is not required that one be a lawyer, or a resident of the town in which they seek appointment. After going through the interview process (which can be quite intense), she finally attained her goal in 2015. As a non lawyer, Judge Twitty had to complete a training program, and pass a certification exam. She will have to take continuing education courses, and be re-certified every eight years.
See the interview Judge Twitty gave to local television station WSPA a few months after her appointment.
At the end of the day, you have to go for opportunities, and not self deselect. So many times women, especially women of color, put extra requirements on themselves in addition to the qualifications they already have. “I’ll be ready to apply x position after I do xyz“. She may be overqualified, and yet she is still doubting herself. Others fall into the trap of “I need to wait my turn”. Judge Twitty is the perfect example — if you want it, go for it!
Best of luck to you Judge Twitty, and thank you for being a Legal Diva of Color!