By Anita Maria Scott
A grassroots campaign is any movement led by a community of like-minded individuals, diverse individuals, or even local residents seeking change without the financial, political, or other means of support by the majority, governing party, people in power, or frontline organizations and that can invigorate or harness the efforts and participation of ordinary people who seek a common goal or change to the status quo or who truly believes in and supports the ideals of an innovative leader. Still, most grassroots campaigns have similar attributes, whereby they can unite, encourage, and usually mobilize non-participating members of a community to support and participate in a movement or disrupt the status quo of existing and popular movements.
The existing movement that Casilda E. Roper-Simpson courageously seeks to disrupt is the Democratic Machine’s stronghold on Civil Court Judge elections. She is disrupting, and some may argue, deteriorating, the Machine’s stronghold by running independently and without the Machine’s support, whether financial or otherwise. Seemingly innocuous as the people supposedly elect civil Court Judges, the Machine’s stronghold is encouraged since (a) Civil Court Judge elections are usually not adequately profiled, thereby forcing voters to choose candidates at the polls with very little information as to who is running, the candidate’s qualifications and community involvement, and which notorious Brooklynite is supporting such candidate; (b) ethics prohibits judicial candidates from revealing their ideologies and fiercely campaigning against adversaries; (c) those candidates supported by the Machine are empowered with significant resources and endorsements, without much thought given to the qualifications of such candidates, as long as the candidates can provide the necessary funding to the Machine, endorsing politicians and political organizations.
However, the People of Brooklyn have a choice to cast their vote in the Democratic primary on June 22, 2021, for the Civil Court.
Specifically, those seeking a truly independent judicial candidate who is not backed by the Democratic Machine and is empowered by justice, not politics, for the People of Brooklyn need not look any further than Casilda E. Roper-Simpson.
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Roper-Simpson was a member of the original legal team, which commenced the 1997 landmark case against the New York City Police Department in the malicious police brutality sodomy of Abner Louima. Presently, Roper-Simpson is an Administrative Law Judge, where she dispenses decisions in the public sector. A former Senior Staff Attorney in the New York State Division of Human Rights (Prosecution Housing Litigation Unit), Counselor Roper-Simpson has been zealously advocating for the rights of litigants for more than 25 years in varied substantive areas of the law. Whether trying cases in Civil Rights, Criminal Defense, Social Services Foster Care, in New York Federal District Courts and State Courts, as well as in Georgia (pro hac vice), Roper-Simpson has tried hundreds of cases and has particularly distinguished herself in Civil Rights & Criminal Defense. So much so, that she has consistently maintained a stellar status on the Criminal Court’s 18(b) Panel for the indigent, which Roper-Simpson has always been re-certified as qualified.
As in-house counsel in middle to large law firms, Roper-Simpson has also engaged in various forms of civil litigation. Decades before the current social justice trend for the wrongfully incarcerated exonerees, Roper-Simpson spearheaded attempts that were rebuffed by the recalcitrant climate at the time. With great humility, she was so tearfully thanked by one of whom she tried to help decades earlier.
Attorney Roper-Simpson’s tireless efforts commenced decades ago paved the way for Jaime A. Davidson, who was wrongfully convicted and served 29 years in prison, to have his life sentence commuted.
While Roper-Simpson has been endorsed by the Black Law Enforcement Alliance, District Leader Shaquana Boykin, Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, Haitian Powerhouse, TiME television, and District Leader Anthony T. Jones, the spirit of her campaign, her captivating legal career and community involvement, the messages from her mentees who have been forever changed due to her leadership, mentorship, and enrichment, and her vow to serve the People of Brooklyn with integrity, impartiality and respect nevertheless epitomizes a grassroots movement filled with hope for a more independent court, especially during the ever-changing legal environment that in more recent times had to adapt to virtual hearings, “raise-the-age” implementation and sentencing reforms. Specifically, Roper-Simpson’s movement for the Civil Court bench has not and will not be dissuaded despite the lack of support by the Democratic Machine.
Second, her campaign committee is composed of, supported by, and endorsed by family, friends, clients, and community members who have supported her throughout her entire career. Third, during the campaign trail, she has managed to meet, reach, and passionately encourage so many members of the Brooklyn community to not only learn about and vote in judicial races but also to support Team Roper-Simpson, since her love of community, love of the law, and substantive and practical experience legal experience coupled with her determination to be the Judge for the People of Brooklyn – not the judge who will be the puppeteer of the Democratic Machine for their political gains – has certainly provided the community with a candidate that they can believe in and will always prioritize their need for justice and fairness.
In essence, Roper-Simpson’s grassroots movement and campaign has certainly invigorated the People of Brooklyn and impassioned voters to look beyond the Machine-supported candidates and instead look to her – the judicial candidate with heart, drive, passion and experience and only seek to serve you – The People of Brooklyn. I stand with you! I will be voting Line#3 on June 22, 2021, for CASILDA E. ROPER-SIMPSON FOR CIVIL COURT JUDGE.