Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

    Judge visits College of Alameda to talk higher education

    The Honorable Judge Trina Thompson shared her honesty and wisdom with students at College of Alameda on April 29 as part of the “Metamorphosis: Change Through Higher Education” lecture series.

    Judge Thompson grew up in foster care and has deep concern for issues surrounding foster care youth, poverty, and education.

    She recently took part in a documentary titled “ In the Red,” about growing up poor and black in America.

    JudgeShe spoke with visible conviction when she told the audience, “Education was my emancipation and it can be yours too.”

    The lecture began at about half past noon when CAFYES (The Cooperating Agencies Foster Youth Education Support) Program Director, Stephen Dorsey, offered his own wisdom to set the tone before introducing Thompson.

    He reminded the audience that the difficult times we experience make us stronger and more capable of tackling whatever life might bring next.

    When Thompson took the podium she asked the audience how many of us in the crowd were foster children.

    As I looked behind me across the diverse array of faces I saw a few hands stick up above the crowd.

    Gesturing warmly to those with their hands raised she said, “You are all my siblings,” and talked about the unique difficulty foster youths face when making the turbulent journey to adulthood.

    During her speech Thompson took the audience through the big turning points in her life and stressed how important education has always been to her.

    She plucked bits of wisdom from the greats, telling the audience, “Do you, because everybody else is taken,” and “Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”

    She told us about the times in her life when people had inspired her, but she let us in on the hard times too as she laughed about eating popcorn for dinner for months when she was struggling through college.

    Thompson also took time to offer advice for young people entering the adult world. She touched on the importance of facing fears head on and raising your standards in order to reach higher and achieve great things.

    Thompson leaves the audience feeling inspired and truly believing that no matter who you are or how invisible you feel in the world, your life is your own and you can do anything you want to do with it.

    Judge Thompson currently serves on felony jury trials and co-defendant homicide trials in the Rene C. Davidson Courthouse in Oakland. She previously served as the presiding judge of the Alameda County Juvenile Court and as Supervising Judge of the Wiley Manuel Courthouse.

    In 2011, President Barack Obama appointed Thompson as Practitioner Member of the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency, as which she still serves under Atty. Gen. Loretta Lynch.

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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