Carolyn Walker-Diallo

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Carolyn Walker-Diallo is the first Muslim woman elected to serve as a Judge in the United States and is the first Muslim elected to serve as a Judge in the State of New York.[1]

In 2015, she was elected to the New York City Civil Court, representing the 7th Municipal Court District, which encompasses Brownsville, East New York, Cypress Hills and Bushwick. On December 10, 2015, she took her ceremonial oath of office on the Quran.

Early life and education[edit]

Judge Walker-Diallo was born in Brownsville and raised in East New York/Cypress Hills Brooklyn. She attended P.S. 290, I.S. 302 and Franklin K. Lane High School, all schools located within the 7th Municipal Court District, where she has resided all of her life.

Judge Walker-Diallo received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Business Administration, Cum Laude, from The Lincoln University of Pennsylvania. She received a Juris Doctor from New York Law School and Master of Business Administration from the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College.

Career[edit]

Judge Walker-Diallo started her legal career as a litigation associate at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP. Her desire to obtain significant trial experience led her to join the New York City Office of the Corporation Counsel where she defended the City of New York, its agencies and high-level employees in cases brought under various federal, state and city laws. As an Assistant Corporation Counsel, Judge Walker-Diallo handled all phases of a case, including responding to complaints, conducting depositions, drafting dispositive motions, and appearing as trial counsel in federal and state trials, and in administrative hearings. She also served as lead attorney in settlement negotiations and court ordered mediations.

During her formative years, Judge Walker-Diallo witnessed her parents play an active and committed role in the East New York and Cypress Hills communities. She continued the family tradition of “being the change we want to see in the world” when she took the helm of a community based nonprofit, named after her father, The George Walker Jr. Community Coalition, Inc. (“GWJrCC”). At GWJrCC, Carolyn combined her passion for the law and for the community by creating the first and only East New York Youth Court.

During this time, she also served as a part-time Administrative Law Judge/Hearing Officer with the New York City Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH) and practiced law in her own firm, The Law and Mediation Offices of Carolyn Walker-Diallo, Esq., PLLC. She also served as a volunteer mediator with the New York Peace Institute. In 2013, Judge Walker-Diallo’s commitment to ensuring that her passion for the law continued to serve a greater purpose led her to join Brooklyn Community Services (BCS), one of the oldest nonprofit organizations in Brooklyn. As the organization’s General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer, she served on the Executive Team and handled, among other things, all legal matters involving the agency, consulted on employee matters, conducted employee and board trainings, as well as monitored and developed BCS’s compliance program.

Community involvement[edit]

Judge Walker-Diallo served as First Vice-Chair of Brooklyn Community Board 5, Board Chair of The George Walker Jr. Community Coalition, Inc., Board Member of the East New York Restoration Local Development Corporation, Member of the 75th Precinct Community Council, and Founder and Troop Leader for several Girl Scout Troops in East New York/Cypress Hills.

In recognition of her dedicated and tireless community work, on February 15, 2015, she received the Distinguished Service Award by Assembly Members Charles Barron, Erik Dilan, and Samuel D. Roberts at the New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators’ 44th Annual Award Ceremony. The Distinguished Service Award is given to an individual who has established an outstanding track record in giving his or her time, energy, expertise and resources toward the betterment of underserved communities and people of color.

Civil Court Judge[edit]

Judge Walker-Diallo officially launched her campaign for Judge in December 2014. She was rated Qualified by the Kings County Democratic Screening Committee. She was also approved by the New York City Bar Association’s Screening Committee.[2] She ran unopposed in the general election on November 3, 2015.[3] On December 10, 2015, Judge Walker-Diallo was sworn in as a Civil Court Judge at Brooklyn Borough Hall. The video of her ceremony went viral, as she took her ceremonial oath of office on the Quran.[4] Unfortunately, as a result, Judge Walker-Diallo received death threats.[5] Despite receiving some backlash, Judge Walker-Diallo also received support for her courageous act.[6][7] As a result of her bravery and tenacity, by the end of 2015, Judge Walker-Diallo was recognized as one of 10 Muslim women who ruled 2015.[8]

Judge Walker-Diallo assumed the bench on January 1, 2016.

Since taking the bench, Judge Walker-Diallo has been recognized for her historic rise:

• On April 20, 2016, the Muslim Bar Association of New York honored Judge Walker-Diallo with the Legal Trailblazer Award. The Trailblazer Award recognizes a legal professional that is an inspiration in the legal field and has achieved an accomplishment that has broken barriers.[9]

• On June 15, 2016, Judge Walker-Diallo received a citation from Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams at Brooklyn Heights Synagogue’s 9th Annual Iftar.[10]

• In May 2017, The Huffington Post named Judge Walker-Diallo as one of the top 15 Inspirational Muslim Woman around the world. [11]

• In September 2017, The Huffington Post once again named Judge Walker-Diallo as one of 25 African-American Muslims breaking barriers around the world. [12]

Judge Walker-Diallo continues to visit schools and participate in events in her local community to inspire young people to rise above all forms of hate to accomplish their dreams.

Judge Walker-Diallo is currently assigned to the New York City Criminal Court, where she presides over felony and misdemeanor matters with integrity, compassion and a commitment to ensuring equality under the law.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Sheila Abdus-Salaam". 2 September 2017 – via Wikipedia.
  2. ^ "New York City Bar Rates General Election Candidates For Supreme Court and Civil Court in New York City". www.nycbar.org.
  3. ^ "BOE - Election Results Summary". vote.nyc.ny.us.
  4. ^ "New York: Black Muslim Woman Takes Oath As Judge, Swears on Holy Quran". 12 December 2015.
  5. ^ http://www.washingtontimes.com, The Washington Times. "Judge Carolyn Walker-Diallo threatened after taking oath of office with Koran: reports".
  6. ^ "Greene: Brooklyn's Muslim judge isn't the end of the world".
  7. ^ "Carolyn Walker-Diallo, Muslim judge, sworn in on Koran".
  8. ^ "10 Muslim women that ruled 2015". 29 December 2015.
  9. ^ "Muslim Bar Association of New York - 2016 Gala". mubany.wildapricot.org.
  10. ^ "Brooklyn's interfaith community hosts iftars to counteract recent violence and rhetoric - Brooklyn Daily Eagle". www.brooklyneagle.com.
  11. ^ Fuseini, Hawa (25 May 2017). "15 Inspirational Muslim Women In 2017".
  12. ^ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-nur-25-muslims-that-are-breaking-barriers-and_us_59c49e30e4b08d6615504183