9 black female judges were elected in one Alabama county this week, which deserves a goddamn celebration

I know that everything feels terrible, but before you lose all hope for humanity heading into the weekend, think of Jefferson County, Alabama. I know, good news never seems to come out of Alabama, but nothing is normal anymore, so let’s all just take it. On Tuesday, as everything else went wrong, Jefferson County, Alabama elected nine female black judges. There is absolutely nothing negative about this news. Even better, they’re judges — they aren’t reps or senators that will be shipped off to Washington to get mired in partisan politics. Judges are where the power is at, and there will be nine female black judges in town, just as Trump’s America really starts to kick in.

This is very, very good news. Jefferson County may be just as screwed as the rest of us, but for the time being, there is a bright spot in Alabama. Of all places.

Here are the women who will soon preside over Jefferson County’s laws: Javan Patton, Debra Bennett Winston, Shera Craig Grant, Nakita “Niki” Perryman Blocton, Tamara Harris Johnson, Elisabeth French, Agnes Chappell, Brendette Brown Green, and Annetta Verin. They’ll be sworn in in January. I love them already. This was how the whole week was supposed to feel.

Overall, there were 15 people of color elected to office in the county. Lynniece Olive-Washington also won the Bessemer district attorney’s office over Bill Veitch; she’ll be the first woman and African-American to hold the position.

Birmingham lawyer Emory Anthony, the former president of the Jefferson County Progressive Democratic Council, told The Birmingham Times, “I just think it’s great. Jefferson County is a majority Democratic County. They turn out to vote, they’re capable of electing qualified individuals.” Just think: people in the judicial system that represent their constituents. Gosh, it must feel so good.

French, one of the newly elected judges, said it wasn’t about her race or gender. “I think the people don’t necessarily just support you just because of your race and gender. I think voters expect more than that,” she said in a statement to The Birmingham Times. “They look at our qualifications and make a decision about who they can trust with the leadership position.” But she does hope it’s inspiring. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to keep up that work … I hope to continue to inspire the younger generation to keep working hard,” French added.

It’s been tough this week knowing the presidency was won by a man who campaigned on xenophobia, racism, misogyny, and disrespect for a lot of people. So, it’s refreshing AF to know there’s a county with nine black female judges. Progress can still be made, even when it all feels hopeless.