- Faith & Family
The Black legal community recently rallied around Judge Teretha Lundy Thomas, the only Black female judge in the 11th Judicial Circuit for Miami-Dade County. Black lawyers were outraged that John Rodriguez, a Cuban lawyer, at the urging of prominent Cuban Attorney Hector Lombana and his political consultants, targeted well-respected Judge Teretha Lundy Thomas because she is a Black female and therefore deemed an easy foe in a county-wide election.
Thomas is the only Black female judge of the 120 judges who serve in the 11th Judicial Circuit. She is widely respected by the legal community and her fellow judges and serves as an administrative judge. Roland Sanchez-Medina, past president of the Cuban American Bar Association, spoke to Rodriguez to urge that he reconsider his selection of judicial opponents. Rodriguez, allegedly, insisted that he carefully selected Judge Thomas, because she is a Black female and not as well known to the legal community because she does not attend the numerous bar association receptions.
Hector Lombana, an alleged proponent of diversity, stated that he advised Rodriguez to drop out of the race against Tanya Brinkley, a Black female, and run against Judge Thomas. Several prominent Black attorneys requested that Lombana urge his candidate to choose another race because Thomas has served with distinction on the bench and should not be targeted because of her race and gender. Rodriguez has refused to switch races.
In response to this clear attack on diversity in the bench, Cheryl Linton Robinson organized a fundraiser for Thomas that included a who’s who of Black attorneys. The event was co-sponsored in part by H.T. Smith (past President of National Bar Association), Marlon Hill (Past President of Caribbean Bar Association), Bill Robinson (Past President of Wilkie Ferguson Bar Association), Kertch Konze (Past President Haitian Lawyers Association), Neil DeLeon (Past President of Caribbean Bar Association), Christina McKinnon (Past President of Wilkie), Kisasha Sharp (General Counsel NAACP), Markenzy LaPointe (Partner Boies Schiller), Reginald Clyne (Past President of Wilkie Ferguson), Damian Thomas and Lynn Washington.
The Black political leadership and bar leaders came to the event to show their support led by Former Commissioner Betty Ferguson, City Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones, Mayor Andre Pierre, Congressional Candidate Rudy Moise, Rod Vereen (Former Candidate for Congress), Mary Jo Toussaint (President of Haitian Lawyers Association), Schulyer Smith (incoming President Caribbean Bar Association) and Ronda Vangates (former candidate for School Board). Commissioner Ferguson addressed the attendees and urged everyone to fight against this clear attack on a well-respected member of the judiciary. Vereen, who is being urged by many to run for State Attorney, spoke about his experience before Thomas who “put him in his place when he tried to act up” and ran a fair trial.
By Reginald Clyne
Miami Times columnist