By Rev. Donald L. Perryman, Ph.D.
The Truth Contributor
There are years that ask questions and years that answer.
– Zora Neal Hurston
There is a resounding groundswell of support for Democrat Vallie Bowman-English to elevate from Clerk of the Toledo Municipal Court to the Lucas County Court of Common Pleas Juvenile Division.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine will appoint a Republican to replace the retired Judge Connie Zemmelman in the next couple of months, but that person will have to run for the office in November 2022. Many in Toledo’s African-American community want to ensure that Bowman-English becomes the Democratic Party nominee for Juvenile Court Judge in the 2022 election.
“She is a rock star and tailor-made for the position,” a highly regarded legal mind proclaimed.
Indeed, after years of determined preparation and cultivation of a career that has garnered the respect of both peers and the community, the time is ripe for a well-deserved promotion.
A graduate of Ohio Northern University – Claude W. Pettit College of Law, Bowman-English has served as Clerk of Court for Toledo Municipal Court for 17 years after previously serving seven years in the Lucas County Prosecutors Office as an Assistant Prosecutor.
Toledo set a record number of homicides in 2020 and has experienced 15 homicides so far in 2021. Also, Black juveniles are arrested locally at three times the rate of Whites. As the mother of a young African-American son, Bowman-English can address decision-making biases and speak with authenticity to institutionalized racial disadvantage in the Lucas County juvenile justice system.
Further, while Black and Brown youth are overrepresented in the system, research also shows that they also experience disparities in accessing diversion programs.
Thanks to the American Recovery Act, more than $400 million in federal aid is headed to Toledo among the City, Lucas County and Toledo Public Schools. The Lucas County Commissioners have pledged $12 million for direct community aid; the mayor has allocated $30 million for neighborhoods, parks and youth. The Toledo Public Schools are working to expand early childhood education and Early Head Start.
However, the critical feat is to bring these efforts together to work upstream – to invest in programs to reach youth before they get to juvenile court (prevention) and scale up diversion and deterrence programming that intervenes before children get arrested.
Vallie Bowman- English is the right person at the right time to make valid impact as Juvenile Court Judge. She will ensure that funding sustains the necessary programs to transform our community rather than to balance administrative bureaucracy merely.
Finally, Vallie checks all of the boxes needed to win a political campaign. She has been Democratic Party Central Committee Chair for several years and thus, has the multi-racial support of:
– The Democratic Party
– The Legal Community (who finance judicial races)
– The Local Political Intelligentsia
– The Grass Roots Community (clergy, community activists, volunteers)
Traditional wisdom says, “Do the right thing at the right time for the right amount of time,” and the yield of fruit will arrive in season.
And, as one enlightened public official divulged, “Vallie’s golden! There is nothing standing in her way. We’ve been waiting years for her to express openly where she wants to go. All she has to do now is announce that she wants the position.”
Expect the announcement to come very soon. For, this is Vallie’s Season!
Contact Rev. Donald Perryman, D.Min, at firstname.lastname@example.org