Former Chief Presiding Judge of Fulton County Juvenile Court, Judge Glenda Hatchett of television fame, shared personal stories Friday of a painful past that was steeped in hatred and racial segregation.
Hatchett addressed a diverse audience who packed College Place United Methodist Church on Friday for the Coastal Georgia Area Community Action Authority’s annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast.
Hatchett spent 14 years on air and in syndication as an Emmy nominated TV court Judge. She recently made a return to daytime television with her new show, “The Verdict with Judge Hatchett.”
“I say sisters and brothers because regardless of race and class, we’re all brothers and sisters,” Hatchett said.
“We have to inspire our youth,” Hatchett told the audience of elected officials, parents, ministers, community leaders, teachers and others during an animated address. “The news about our children is not all bad. The majority of our children are trying to get it right.”
Citing King, Hatchett said when we talk about diversity, the question is, “Where will you stand in challenging times?”
“The measure of a man is not where he stands in times of comfort,” Hatchett said. “It’s easy to stand up when there is no problem. The question is what you’ll do in challenging times. If we believe in what Dr. King taught us about the ‘Beloved Community’ we have to believe each of us is a benefactor of the dream,” Hatchett said, referencing King’s 1957 speech, Birth of a New Nation, where he said, “The aftermath of nonviolence is the creation of the beloved community.”
She told of how her father, whom she described as her hero, was there for her to soothe the impact racism had on her as a young child. Hatchett also talked about the influence of the late Judge Horace T. Ward, who, in 1950, became the first African-American to challenge the racially discriminatory practices at the University of Georgia Law School, which denied the application of an overqualified Ward.
It was the late civil rights attorney, Judge Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court justice, who served as Ward’s attorney in the case.
Hatchett challenged those in attendance, including Brunswick Mayor Cornell Harvey and city commissioners, to think about whether they’ve done the one thing they’ve always wanted to do and if not, why not.
“I also want you to think about what you’re willing to do that will live beyond your lifetime,” Hatchett said.
Hatchett reminded the audience that diversity means nothing if you’re just tolerating folks and just trying to meet quotas.
“Diversity is not about tolerance, it’s about seeking to understand,” Hatchett said.
Tres Hamilton, chief executive officer of the action authority said she is a benefactor of King’s dream and added that the organization is celebrating it’s 50th anniversary.
“My mentor Dr. Leonard Dawson led this organization,” Hamilton said. “I’m standing on his shoulders. This breakfast was his brainchild to bring all of us together regardless of race. The community thrives when we come together.”
Paulo Albuquerque, area manager for Brunswick Georgia Power, presented Hamilton with a $1,500 check, saying how important the organization is to the community.
For the first time at the event, students from coastal Georgia communities were honored as ‘Tomorrow’s Leaders’ based on their community service work and essays they submitted on how King’s work impacted them.
Kyra Caldwell, Midway Middle School, Liberty County, was the winner of the middle school entries. Hanay Waye, a student at Glynn Academy, won at the high school level.
Both winners received scholarships. The high school winner will advance to the state level to compete for the Georgia Community Action Association Scholarship Award.