PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Some Philadelphia judges share more than just a love for the law. They also share a college connection.
These six Philadelphia judges are all bound by a common link.READ MORE: 6 Day Workweeks And Poked By Needles: YaFavTrashman Fighting For Philadelphia Sanitation Workers' Safety
They all attended Hampton University in Virginia, one of the nation’s historically Black colleges and universities. They’re as much friends as they are colleagues navigating the court system in the unprecedented era of a pandemic.
“We did spend a lot of time doing virtual hearings, but the courthouses are moving forward because it’s so important,” Judge Roxanne Covington said, “because it’s so important the wheels of justice cannot stop turning.”
Eyewitness News had the opportunity to sit down with these judges to have a candid conversation about their college connection and the connection they also share as African Americans on the bench in the judicial system in Philadelphia.
“Many times I come, when I come out from the back, you’ll see people’s faces change when they see you,” Judge Jonathan Irvine said. “I don’t know whether that’s good or bad. You need to see diversity. Sometimes, you need to see people who look like you.”READ MORE: Police: 2 Teens In Car Shot At Red Light In Philadelphia's Olney Neighborhood
Diversity on the bench as in any profession is crucial, especially in a time where judicial systems around the country are under scrutiny for implementing fair sentencing.
“It’s important that the bench represents the entire community,” Judge Kai Scott said, “not just in terms of gender, but also the socio-economic background and of course, race. Because it matters.”
There’s a tremendous amount of support among this elite group as the court system gradually gets back to normal, a bond that stems from their ties to a historically Black university in Virginia.
“The need for HBCUs today is just as great as it ever was,” Judge Mark Moore said.
It’s led to a life-long connection that’s stood the test of time.
“It was a wonderful experience,” Judge Sharon Williams Losier said. “It was one of the best decisions I ever made.”MORE NEWS: 14 Arrested On More Than 120 Charges Related To NorthPak Gang Violence In Wilmington
“It’s that kind of connectedness that you get at an HBCU that sometimes you don’t get at other institutions,” Judge Lillian Harris Ransom said.