PIERCE COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT
PRESS RELEASE: February 26, 2018
RE: SUPERIOR COURT JUDGES ASSOCIATION APPROVES THREE COLOR OF JUSTICE EVENTS STATEWIDE
The Superior Court Judges Association (SCJA) Board approved sponsoring up to three Color of Justice events across Washington State for FY 2018-2019. Pierce County Superior Court Judge G. Helen Whitener, created the first Color of Justice event specifically geared towards marginalized youth in 2017. Due to the Pierce County event’s success, Judge Whitener was able to lobby the SCJA for funding for more events spread throughout the state. The event locations have not been determined, but the hope is to reach a wide audience throughout the State. Judge Whitener believes these events will expose hundreds of youth to the judiciary. SCJA President, Judge Sean P. O’Donnell stated, “Judge Whitener has been steadfast in her enthusiasm for this project and it is her vision that has brought us to this point. I’m proud that our Association will help make a difference in these young people’s lives.” Judge Whitener will partner with Judge Eric Z. Lucas from the Snohomish County Superior Court, who is her co-chair on the Equality and Fairness Committee, to lead the effort of putting on these events.
About Color of Justice:
The National Association of Women Judges (NAWJ) sponsored Color of Justice Event was held on August 17, 2017 at the Pierce County Superior Court building in Tacoma, WA. This program was adapted by Pierce County Superior Court Judge G. Helen Whitener with the goal of connecting girls from marginalized communities to female judges, who can mentor and empower them. The one-day event, with keynote speech by Washington Supreme Court Justice Mary Yu, encouraged girls, ages 11-18, to consider a career in law and the judiciary. Approximately 80 girls from around Western Washington met and participated with female members of the judiciary to observe the legal process through their eyes.
About Judge G. Helen Whitener:
Judge Whitener was appointed to the Pierce County Superior Court Bench by Governor Jay Inslee on January 13, 2015. Prior to her position with Superior Court, Judge Whitener was an Industrial Insurance Appeals Judge in Washington State and a Managing Partner at Whitener Rainey Writt PS. Judge Whitener is a former Attorney with the Pierce County Department of Assigned Counsel, and a former Deputy Prosecuting Attorney with Pierce County, Island County and an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney with the City of Olympia. In 2017, the Washington State Supreme Court appointed Judge Whitener to serve on the Washington State Minority and Justice Commission and on the Office of Civil Legal Aid Oversight Committee. She is a member of the International Association of Women Judges, the International Association of LGBT Judges and the National Association of Women Judges. Judge Whitener is a graduate of Baruch College, City University of New York with a B.B.A. and holds a Juris Doctor from Seattle University School of Law.
About Pierce County Superior Court:
Pierce County Superior Court is the second largest Superior Court in the State of Washington and is proud to serve the citizens and visitors of Pierce County. The Court is staffed with 22 Judges and 9 Commissioners. There are three sites where court is held; the County City Building at 930 Tacoma Ave S Tacoma, Remann Hall Juvenile Court at 5501 6th Ave Tacoma, and Western State Hospital at 9601 Steilacoom Blvd SW, Lakewood. For more information, please visit our website at http://co.pierce.wa.us/superiorcourt.
Chris Gaddis, Superior Court Administrator