Posted by on February 13, 2014 in Blog
If elected in November, Seattle attorney and community leader Damon Shadid will become the first Arab American to serve as Seattle Municipal Court Judge. The brother of late Arab American and Pulitzer Prize-winning Journalist Anthony Shadid, Damon Shadid is proud of his Lebanese heritage and touts how his background has shaped his passion for serving poor and under privileged communities on his campaign website. It was Anthony’s sacrifice and courage, as well as Damon’s own commitment to bridging the gap between the judicial system and Seattle’s diverse community that have inspired him to pursue a position on the bench. Anthony’s “unwavering courage stirred something in me and empowers me to do even more to fulfill my commitment to equal justice,” Shadid said.
An expert on where criminal and immigration law intersect, Shadid has built his law practice around educating lawyers and judges on the criminal justice system’s impact on vulnerable immigrant populations. “I have a strong belief that judges should not only work in the court room, but they should also be working in the community every day to build bridges between the criminal justice system and the individuals in our city.”
Shadid has the credentials and support to do just that. He has been active in the Arab American community for years, and is a founding board member of the Middle Eastern Legal Association of Washington, which is the first minority Bar Association for people of Middle East descent in the country. He is also active with the Arab American Community Coalition of Seattle. Beyond the Arab American community, Shadid is engaged with groups like OneAmerica, the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, the King County Family Law Mentor Program, and has been serving as a Judge Pro Tem in the courts of King County since 2009. His track record of work within the community has earned him endorsements from individuals, organizations, and legal entities representing a diverse cross section of society. Among those endorsements are Gerald Hankerson, President of the Seattle branch of the NAACP; Seattle City Council members Sally Bagshaw and Mike O’Brien, as well as King County Sheriff John Urquhart.
As Judge, Shadid says he plans to focus on restorative programs in the criminal justice system and deterring crime through community participation and administering appropriate and proportionate punishments. Too often, he says, the system lacks adequate measures to restore offenders who do not pose a danger to society and prescribes punishments that keep them in jail rather than providing a pathway to rehabilitation within their community. To Shadid, this policy is not about being soft on crime, it’s about being present as a jurist and making the right decisions that keep Seattle residents safe and which also adhere to principles of social justice.
Though November is a ways away, Shadid is building the type of diverse, grassroots community support needed to attain his goal of making history as the first Arab American to serve on the bench of the Seattle Municipal Court and better serving Seattle’s residents. Extending beyond his political support, his background, his name, Shadid’s biggest asset is his experience and his resume - and the clear contrast that draws between himself and his opponent.
To learn more about Damon and how you can help, visit: www.shadidforseattle.com