TARRANT COUNTY, Texas — Marq Clayton has been inspired beyond her wildest dreams as she campaigns to become a Tarrant County judge. She has a new role model -- whom she has not met but is emotionally invested in now.
"There is not enough words to explain what's going through my emotions, my body right now," said Clayton.
As a Tarrant County Judge Candidate for Criminal Court 7, Clayton stayed glued to the television watching the confirmation hearing for Ketanji Brown Jackson.
She gives Brown a lot of credit too. The tough questions took Clayton on an emotional rollercoaster.
"So the confirmation hearings struck a lot of emotions. Um, just watching the line of questioning that Judge Jackson was under. I understood that those were direct attacks on her," Clayton said. "Being the phenomenal woman that she is, she endured that. And that is just a true testament to who she is as a person and who she will be as a justice."
As a candidate for judge, Clayton calls the encouragement from Senator Cory Booker her "aha moment" during the confirmation hearing. His words of encouragement brought tears to the eyes of Judge Brown. Booker talked about the fight for equality Black women have had to fight for all of their lives.
"You got here how every Black woman in America who has gotten anywhere has done," said Booker during the hearing.
"What this means for little Black and Brown girls... This will allow young minority women to dream bigger," said Clayton.
Dream bigger like Attorney Crystal Gayden, who's also a candidate for judge in Tarrant County's 324th District Court.
Gayden watched as much of the confirmation hearing as possible in between court appearances and meetings with clients.
"I was glued to the television," Gayden said. "It is energizing. It gives me a sense of this is this is possible. This is definitely possible."
In all, there are eight Black women hoping to make election history in Tarrant County.
For both Clayton and Gayden, the only thing more inspiring for Justice Brown is witnessing Vice President Kamala Harris announce her confirmation.
"On this vote, the Yeas are 53, the Nays are 47, and this nomination is confirmed," said Harris.
"Campaigning to be a judge, and then my particular court, I want to be the first Black female judge that would hold County Criminal Court Number 7 in over 30 years Tarrant County, as a county has not elected a Black female judge. So, just seeing her being confirmed as the justice on the Supreme Court, absolutely gives me more hope," Clayton said. "She has busted a door wide open for young girls."
"There is hope that there is going to be recognition in our voices that black and brown people can no longer be ignored," Gayden said. "I mean, to be a candidate right now running for office in a very different time in Tarrant County. Right? And to be able to see someone that looks like me, be able to take the highest office in our judicial system. And for me, running just a little bitty old Tarrant County, being able to see that it's an inspiration."