The Induction of the Honorable Robert R. Reed as a Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of New York
By Michelle Deal Winfield
Photo Credits: Michelle Deal Winfield
On Thursday, January 26, 2017 an Induction of the Honorable Robert R. Reed was held at New York County Civil Courthouse, Room 325 at 111 Centre Street in New York City. Hundreds filed in to witness the swearing-in of the newly elected Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of New York. Elected officials, residents, family, colleagues and former classmates participated in a love fest as they honored the Honorable Robert R. Reed. Many stood waving their hands coming from Massachusetts,Texas, California,Washington, D.C., Maryland, New Jersey and attorneys and judges from all five boroughs of the city.
Mr. Ralph Andrew, Master of Ceremonies was also the Master of Ceremonies at Justice Reed’s swearing-in during his Civil Court Induction. The Honorable Tanya Kennedy sang her rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sings” by James Weldon Johnson known as the National Black Anthem. The Honorable Fern A. Fisher announced this was one of the last ceremonies she would attend. The Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for the New York City Courts, Hon. Fern Fisher paid homage to former Mayor David N. Dinkins, saying, “Mayor Dinkins reminded us that our city is composed of a gorgeous mosaic.” She praised Justice Reed for his warmth, intelligence and commitment to the community.
The Honorable Keith L. T. Wright, Manhattan Democratic County Leader noted, “I was to mention that Mayor Dinkins was coming here tonight. Hon. Wright looking over to Mayor Dinkins said, “But, I see he is here already.” After relating that Justice Reed had attended every community event even on Sunday afternoons. In a deep baritone voice, Wright said, “And may the force be with you!” The audience cheered. The Manhattan Borough President Gail A. Brewer, enumerated the outstanding support Justice Reed offers to the community and he is one of the most positive people she knows. She said, “I went to an N.A.A. C.P. event and learned Justice Reed sure can dance. Keep on dancing!” Diallo Shabazz, Executive Director of One Hundred Black Men, Inc.,OHBM, read a speech referring to Justice Reed as a strong reed helping others to succeed. All members of One Hundred Black Men were asked to stand. Distinguished men from all over the Tri-State area, including Mayor David N. Dinkins and Hon.W. Franc Perry stood proudly.
The final speaker was Geoffrey E. Eaton, President, N.A.A.C.P. Mid-Manhattan Branch. Mr. Eaton listed the various activities Justice Reed has participated as a Board member. Again, all members of the respective organization regardless of branch affiliation were asked to stand. The community spirit was alive and well.
Everyone rose as Hon. Sheila Abdus-Salaam, Associate Judge, New York Court of Appeals asked Justice Robert R. Reed, his wife, Annette Gordon-Reed, and their daughter, Susan Reed to come forward for the swearing-in. Justice Reed raised his right hand, no one uttered a sound, only Justice Reed could he heard taking the oath. As he ended with, “I swear,” the audience erupted in applause.
Justice Robert R. Reed donned in his black robe, began multiple shout outs to former freshmen classmates, family members and supporters. He closed by saying, “I’m straight out of Compton, California.”
Rev. Dr. Cathy S. Gillard, Senior Minister at Park Avenue United Methodist Church provided the Invocation and the Benediction.
Justice Reed announced, “The reception will be held in room 107 after Jackie Rowe Adams, Co-Founder/ President, Harlem Mothers Save sings “God Bless America.”
All those who testified on Justice Reed’s behalf lauded his intelligence, his degrees from Stanford University, followed by Harvard Law School where he obtained a Doctor of Laws, J.D. Annette Gordon-Reed, his wife, a graduate of Harvard Law School is a Professor, Historian and a Pulitzer Prize winner in History. She received the distinguished National Humanities Medal presented by President Barack Obama. Justice Robert R. Reed remains steadfast in his commitment to his faith and family as he continues his journey to serve as Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of New York.
And finally, Laura F. Koestler, a member of the Samuel J. Tilden Democratic Club and an elected Delegate to the 1st Judicial District sends her best by saying, “It was no surprise there were so many well-wishers, including the elder statesman Mayor Dinkins, at the Induction. Justice Reed is a fine man who is eminently qualified to serve in that important position; where his well-considered decisions could positively impact someone’s future path, and their useful contribution to society. Congratulations to Justice Robert R. Reed and his supportive family on this achievement!”