Sheila Abdus-Salaam, the first black female judge in the New York State Court of Appeals and the first female Muslim judge in the United States, was found dead on April 12, 2017. Sheila Abdus-Salaam was born Sheila Turner to working-class parents in Washington DC on March 14, 1952. Her inspiration to become a lawyer came from the TV shows she loved as a girl and from Frankie Muse Freeman, a civil rights activist and lawyer, who visited her school. Among her many accomplishments, Sheila Abdus-Salaam made the groundbreaking decision in a case that allowed LGBT parents to pursue equal parenting rights.
Lacking a final statement from a medical examiner or a suicide note, the police and the media have still been quick to label her death a suicide, citing that she was ‘stressed at work.’ We can only wait for further investigation and hope that she receives as much justice in death as she offered to the world in life. For the time being, until we know the results of the investigation, SAY HER NAME.