The sixth amendment states “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.”
Judge Tammy Kemp understands the sixth amendment. In a high profile, high controversy, racially charged case a black woman presided over the courtroom. Judge Kemp, like any good lawmaker disregarded any bias, her own emotions, her skin color, and her own community to ensure the sixth amendment was skillfully and meticulously sought. At times, Kemp’s humanity showed through the lawmaker’s thick black skin and anyone could see the confluence of her emotions and the right to a fair trial. When Joshua Brown wept on the witness stand, Kemp’s emotion peaked out for a second like the sun on a cloudy day. But Amber Guyger needed a fair trial.
As a black man, Judge Kemps facial expression reminded me of the difficulty of her job. She couldn’t miss this one because everyone was watching. Justice had to be served while someone’s life as she knew it was at stake. A female needed equity. A black person needed justice. Judge Kemp is both. Her charge of carefully balancing her own humanity with a volatile social state of an entire nation was no small feat. In fact, it seemed insurmountable at times but she did it with grace, with equity, and without bias.
The Botham Jean case was one of limitless tragedy. A young man lost his life too early and unnecessarily. A young woman’s life was changed forever. Many black people were reaffirmed that the state of our country hasn’t moved much since the 1960’s. But in such a tragic event, Judge Tammy Kemp reminded us that there is still good in America. America has equity. America has justice. America is still upright. Judge Kemp was a light in the darkness.
Women in America have come a long way. People like Tammy Kemp continue to blaze trails that make the future look favorable. Thank you, Judge Kemp for your fairness, for your justice, and for showing us the beauty of humanity that kept us from being blinded by tragedy’s darkness.
Kevin Redd, MHA
The HENO Project