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Black judges getting replaced by Cuban

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The Miami-Dade judicial races demonstrate how black people are still fighting for equality in this county. Four of the five Anglo and Latino judges running for re-election are unopposed, but the only two black judges have drawn challengers who hope their Hispanic surnames is enough to unseat the incumbents. Unlike single member district county commission races, all Miami-Dade voters can cast ballots in every judicial race. It’s not uncommon for non-Hispanic judges to draw Hispanic opponents who believe their ethnicity gives them an edge in a county that has a Latino voting majority.

This year, two Hispanic lawyers have set their sights on Wendell Graham, who has been on the bench since 1994, and Fred Seraphin, Florida’s first Haitian American judge. Milena Abreu and Antonio Jimenez are certainly not going to take their chances against the Anglo and Hispanic judges up for reelection. What’s going on here is no different from when an African American and a Cuban with the same qualifications apply for the same job in Miami. More often than not, the Cuban gets the gig.

If Graham and Seraphin lose, African Americans will have less representation at a time when we need more people in powerful positions who can set examples for younger generations of black Miamians. I blame the black community for allowing this to happen. This is a clear example of African Americans not working together to hold on to the few elected seats we have.

Meanwhile, Abreu and Jimenez can count on Anglo and Hispanic law firms to give them campaign money to beat the incumbents. Jimenez, who is running against Graham, has already raised more cash than the sitting judge.

By not paying attention to the judicial races, African Americans risk ending up with judges who don’t understand the black experience. They will judge you based on the way they live their life. They will judge you by how life is in Pinecrest and Aventura, not Liberty City. That’s why it is important for Graham and Seraphin to remain on the bench.

When shit like this happens, going out to vote is the only way African Americans can prevent it. If we don’t, it’s just a matter of time before there are no black judges left in Miami-Dade.
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