Judge Sharon Oden Johnson B&W HeadshotDear Illinois Judicial Council Members,

Happy New Year! As 2016 comes to a close, my thoughts turn gratefully to IJC and its members. I am truly grateful for the legacy left by our past leadership and the commitment to progress exhibited by our membership.

Many members have become engaged with our commitment to community such as Chief Judge Timothy Evans and his mentorship initiatives; Judge Stanley Hill and Judge Kevin Lee’s very successful PUSH Excel Oratorical Contest; and Judge Kimberly Lewis and Judge Thaddeus Wilson’s superb job of keeping our members informed of legal events. Nevertheless, there remain many items on the agenda.

In 2017, I look forward with anticipation to Judge Andrea Buford’s work with the Bylaw Committee to update our bylaws; Hearing Officer Robin Perkins and Judge David Atkins work with the Scholarship Committee to select the 2017 recipients; Judge Rodney Hughes Brooks and Judge Diane Shelley’s work with the Black History Exhibit; and Judge Dominique Ross’ work with the Banquet Committee to plan the Installation and Scholarship Banquet for 2017.

Our collaborative efforts continue to grow and reflect the needs of our community. The Legal Liaison Committee, under the leadership of Judge Kimberly Lewis, has organized a Red Carpet Private Screening of the movie “Hidden Figures” on January 20, 2017. This event is significant because we are sponsoring a youth organization, “My Block, My Hood, My City”, as well as inviting the larger legal community to attend the screening.

I have also reached out to community organizations to schedule Judicial Forums; Judge Kevin Lee and Judge Allen Walker have made efforts to continue our “Robes in the Schools” and “High School Extern” programs respectively; and Judge Carl Walker has organized our first ever Continuing Legal Education seminar “So you want to appeal” which will be cosponsored by CCBA and ISBA.

As I contemplate our goals for 2017, my mind wanders to Alvin Toffler who wrote: “You’ve got to think about big things while you’re doing small things, so that all the small things go in the right direction.”

Thank you for all that you have done to contribute to IJC’s progress. I wish you happiness and peace in a new year filled with hope,


/s/Sharon O. Johnson
Chair Illinois Judicial Council