YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Judge Carla Baldwin was the first Black female judge in Youngstown when she was sworn in in 2018. Now, she sits down with First News’s Community Affairs Director Dee Crawford to discuss the impact of that.
“It’s pretty amazing. You know, when I set out to run, you know, I didn’t know the impact that this would have after I actually sat on the bench. I always tell kids and individuals when I’m speaking to groups that I’ve wanted to be a judge since I was 12 years old. But who knew I would make history when I did it some 25 years later,” said Judge Baldwin.
“And so I think the beauty of that is not just I’m a judge for the Black people. I’m a judge for the women. I’m a judge for younger people. I always say I’m a judge who is blessed to be both Black and female. And with that comes a unique perspective on some of the positive things that happen in our city and some of the challenges our city faces. And it gives me a unique look and opportunity to share that with others in the position of influence that I have,” she continued.
Judge Baldwin then went on to discuss the challenges that the Youngstown courts face in the coming years.
“I think the biggest challenge is just having everyone understand the role of all these entities that make up our city government. So our court system, we try to prevent recurrences from offenders who are in our system. But our role is not preventive in that traditional respect. And we have to reach out to all of these agencies and connect the dots,” she said.
“I remember I was in a meeting with Reverend Louis Macklin and he said, ‘We have everything we need in this room. We just have to learn how to connect the dots.’ And so that is a challenge. But I can tell you that I’m pleased that for all of our efforts at the court, that there is this spirit of cooperation and desire to say, ‘We cannot do this alone while we are all independent,'” she continued.
“We all have to function interdependent. So why not do that well? And why not talk to each other and see how we connect these resources to minimize some of the impact of this trauma and the violence and the crime and be able to provide resources. So I’m thankful to both Chief Davis and his predecessor, Chief Lees, and the Sheriff Greene and his staff and Guy Bernie in the work that he does and the mental health board and the treatment agencies,” Judge Baldwin said.
“There’s never been a time I said, ‘Let’s come together and make something better that they shied away from the table or from the challenge,'” she finished.
Baldwin also discussed what more could be done to address violence and crime. You can see that on First News at 5 p.m. Friday or on later WKBN.com.