Judge Karen Mills-Francis recently visited Downtown Campus to lead a forum on relationships, domestic/spousal and dating abuse. The School of Social, Behavioral and Health Sciences partnered with Executive Chair for the School of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics/Downtown Campus President Dr. Marie Gnage to host the event.
During the discussion, Judge Mills-Francis shared with female students her personal story of being a domestic violence survivor. She aimed to make clear that domestic violence occurs in all races and socioeconomic levels. The forum provided many students with a safe place to discuss their own difficult ordeals.
Judge Mills-Francis currently presides over “Supreme Justice with Judge Karen” and boasts more than 13 years of legal experience. Driven by the lack of diversity in the court system, she ran for a judgeship in 2000, winning her first election and becoming the second black woman to serve on the bench in Miami-Dade County, Florida.
After twice being elected to the position of Miami-Dade County Judge, Judge Mills-Francis made it her mission to support those who are at risk of getting lost in the legal system. In April 2008, Judge Mills-Francis stepped down in order to bring her passion for law and desire to help others into homes across America.
Professor of Medical Assisting Karen Kelley stated that she and her students were appreciative of this forum opportunity and later continued the discussion in their classroom. Kendra Mervin, TRIO student support services project director for North Campus, also stated that the conversation continued during a late lunch following the event. Dr. Sandy Robinson, executive chair for the School of Social, Behavioral and Health Sciences/North Campus president, hopes to further develop safe spaces for students to continue these types of discussions.