Judge Cassandra Hollemon, one of the iconic 17 Black women who ran for judicial seats in Harris County, Texas and was elected last year as part of the “Harris Black Girl Magic” campaign, has passed away at age 57.
According to the Associated Press, Hollemon’s daughter, Brandy Hollemon said that her mother died on Monday, about a week after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
“She was an awesome, very strong woman,” Brandy Hollemon said of her mother, who presided over Harris County Criminal Court at Law No. 12.
Judge Hollemon started feeling sick around mid-December, but according to her daughter kept on working until she was hospitalized.
“Her last week of work was very hard, but she would not call in,” Brandy Hollemon told ABC13. “I dropped her off because she couldn’t walk. She was wheezing and struggling to breathe.”
“I want people to know how eager she was to make a difference in the justice system,” she added. “She was still fighting just struggling for every breath just to be here, and her goal was to try to get back to work. She said, ‘I love my job. I have to get back.'”
Brandy Hollemon remembers a mother who was devoted and determined to succeed at her goal at changing the justice system
A widow since 1992, Hollemon worked to raise her children alone while finishing law school.
“She continued to go to law school and she studied endless nights. She had a table she would sit at with a little lamp and just study all night long, and she was working a full-time job,” her daughter told the AP.
She showed that same perseverance on the campaign trail, still mourning her own mother’s December 2017 death throughout the process.
“The other judges would have to console her on the campaign trail, but she wouldn’t stop, she kept going — just endless hours, up late at night at different functions, campaigning and speaking. She just wouldn’t stop,” Brandy Hollemon said.
And she succeeded.
Judge Hollemon was among the sweep of 17 new Black women who were elected as judges in the county during the last election season. She was part of the county’s Democratic Party’s push to increase diversity in the local judiciary system which ultimately increased the number of Black female judges in the area from eight to 25, the AP notes.
Cassandra Hollemon will be laid to rest on Saturday, with her funeral being held at Good Hope Baptist Church on North McGregor in Houston at 11 a.m. It is open to the public, ABC 13 reports.
The Harris County Commissioners Court will appoint someone to fill her seat, according to the AP.