For Immediate Press Release

May 13, 2021


“I raise up my voice—not so I can shout but so that those without a voice can be heard… We cannot succeed when half of us are held back.” – Malala Yousafzai


The Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association and the Massachusetts Black Women Attorneys are absolutely thrilled with the historic nomination of Judge Angel Kelley to serve as an Associate Justice on the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. If confirmed, Judge Kelley would make history as the second African American woman and second Asian American to serve on the court. We applaud the work of President Biden and Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey on advancing Judge Kelley’s candidacy. Judge Kelley’s tenacity and candor are only two of the many characteristics that spring to mind when describing her impact on the legal community and our organizations. She is a fierce advocate for justice, inclusion, and creating pathways for the next generations of attorneys and future judges.


As a Commonwealth, we have made strides to diversify the bar and the bench, but there is still more work to do. There is often a tug of war between perception versus reality for candidates of color and which “lane” they must choose when applying to the bench. Oftentimes, diverse candidates are encouraged to apply to specialty or district courts as a starting point, regardless of having nearly identical or more legal experience than white candidates who do not receive the same messaging.


We urge Governor Baker and decision-makers to continue to acknowledge the qualifications and experience of diverse candidates. It is imperative that we continue to fill vacant seats in state courts, especially on the Superior Court, with diverse candidates, across race, gender, sexual orientation, ideology and professional experience. Representation matters. Let nominations like Associate Justice Serge Georges and Judge Angel Kelley be shining examples that a seat at the table on any court is possible without following one linear path.


Congratulations once again Judge Kelley. We firmly stand behind and support you on your journey. We look forward to updating this message from “congratulations on your nomination” to “congratulations on your confirmation”.