CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — With her proud daughters looking on, Victoria Gumbs-Moore was given her robe and became the first black Family Court judge in Suffolk County.
“It’s sort of surreal, because I didn’t really think like, oh I want to be the first black female judge in Family Court,” Gumbs-Moore recently told CBSN New York’s Hazel Sanchez. “I don’t know that anybody vies for that. It’s just something that happens, and so I do feel like a strong sense of responsibility because I definitely don’t want to be the last.”
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Gumbs-Moore, 49, a married mother of two, was born in Mineola. Her childhood was spent in Wheatley Heights, where’s she’s now raising her own family.
As a child, Judge Gumbs-Moore aspired to be a teacher, a pharmacist, but she said her inquisitive personality would lay the foundation for the path that would lead her to where she is now.
“I guess when I was like about 9 or 10 one of my neighbors said, ‘You know, you sure are inquisitive. You would make a good lawyer,'” Gumbs-Moore said.
Her honor graduated from St. John’s University, earned her jurist doctorate at Touro Law Center in Central Islip, and was a court attorney referee in Family Court before being elected to her new position.
She’s hoping her hometown presence on the bench will be comforting to everyone who walks into her courtroom.
“They might feel like, ‘Oh, she might understand what my situation is. She might understand that just because this neighborhood has gotten a lot of bad publicity, everybody is not like that.’ I think that’s what I bring,” Gumbs-Moore said.
And a great deal of compassion that comes from a lifetime of experience.
Gumbs-Moore co-founded the Amistad Suffolk County Black Bar Association with the goal to advise and inspire.