SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — In honor of National Women’s History Month, the Utah State Courts is featuring the Salt Lake County presiding judge who made history as the first black, female judge in Utah.
Judge Shauna Graves-Robertson made history in 1999 when she was appointed to the Salt Lake County Justice Court as the first female, black judge. However, she says she has “mixed feelings” about being the first.
“It’s an honor to be of service. But I can’t help wondering why it took so long for a black woman judge to be seated on the bench. And now I am wondering why it’s taking so long for another African American to be appointed, male or female,” she said in the press release.
The Salt Lake City native started as a lawyer at the Salt Lake Legal Defenders office. At the time, all the judges were female, and when one decided to retire another judge asked her if she would be interested. Graves-Robertson said the judges were “fabulous” and described her peers as a “dynamic staff,” according to the release.
Graves-Robertson said she faced many challenges, however, she sees them as an opportunity to show people who you are as you search for a way to succeed.
The judge encourages anyone looking into the career to apply saying it is difficult to get a job you do not apply for.
“The Hue of our state is changing. And with that change there are those who understand the power of diversity and inclusion,” she said. “Our best chance for positive growth comes when we have a number of different voices as part of the conversation.”
Judge Graves-Robertson is currently the presiding judge in Salt Lake County. She is also a member of the National Association of Women Judges, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Women Lawyers of Utah, and the Utah Minority Bar Association.