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Shadia Tadros: A Beacon For City Court Judge

Why I hope you will read this: It is for suffering young men and women that we are failing. Few things deserve more thought and solemn rendering than the process that takes the freedom from a human being. It is worth hearing me out. Too seldom do candidates come along with the right talents along with deep caring insights into inner city behaviors. Shadia Tadros is one of these all too rare individuals. You will never hear a name favored in this column unless my personal knowledge of them has revealed that they are among our finest.

Shadia Tadros is running on the “Working Families” line, Row E. On your ballot when you vote that is where you will find her. There are times when this is just as purely right as anything that can be. This is one such time. Black and minority leaders, with whom I have sometimes disagreed on candidates, agree in regard to Shadia Tadros. Vote for the Democratic candidates and for City Court Judge, Shadia Tadros on the Working Families Line.   

Shadia Tadros is a Beacon. A symbol for others that shows the way. On our darkest days when a Beacon comes into view, or in our presence, the darkness subsides and we begin to feel safe. When you are a Beacon for the oppressed values and standards are excited and well-being is sensed and secured. Shadia Tadros is a Beacon within the criminal justice system in Syracuse. Shadia is an Attorney and grew up among those she serves and those she will be judging. She is a graduate of Corcoran High School. Shadia has two great advantages. One is a natural fair sense of right and wrong and justice and the other is complete understanding of inner-city culture and values. I have been in the city since 1956. I cannot tell you how invaluable understanding drugs and addiction and the streets are to justice. If you want a Judge that will treat your children with the same respect and regard as those children from wealth and power, Shadia Tadros is your choice. She knows from life experience and personal heart that equality extends far beyond your ability to afford an influential lawyer.           

Appropriate mitigating circumstance will be perceived and the number of days our youth waste on a jail bed will be less. That matters. And options that give them a better life will be sought. The system needs Shadia Tadros.

In 2017, Shadia was awarded the Volunteer Lawyers Project Pro Bono (working for the poor without pay) Champion of the Year. That speaks volumes. Voting for Shadia Tadros is giving great value and ability to one that will serve with the finest insight. City Court is on the criminal level, Misdemeanors and Traffic Violations as well as Housing Court, civil and Small Claims Court. Shadia has litigated cases in all these courts. With the housing crisis that’s going on in the City of Syracuse and how that directly relates to poverty, Housing Court is very important. Shadia’s background with the city and the people are invaluable ingredients to this process.

Mass incarceration is the issue of our time. What we need to recognize up front is that violent and serious crime “is” being punished amply. No one intends to give favor to these types of criminals. However, an easy million inmates do not fall in these categories. The vast majority are drug related crimes and crimes where alternative can be found. We need judges that see that we have failed to seek ample alternatives and have the desire and wisdom to work toward returning our justice system to a place of honor and fairness. There are 2,220,300 adults in U.S. prisons. China has a full billion more people than America and less incarceration. We are by far the highest jailers on earth with far less alternative and rehabilitative option than the majority of developed countries.

When poverty, fear, guns, bullying, drugs and danger are your childhood companions, very often with parental abuse and neglect, you see things differently. Survival becomes your goal.

The bar for jail is too low and few seek “workable” alternative. Assigned Counsel defense much too often, does have the quality of paid defense. Jailing among the poor is perceived as cruel, unfair and cold and without vision. It is seen not only as useless punishment for most non-violent crime, but an environment that fosters future crime. Disdain
festers and the legal system becomes an enemy that is feared rather than respected.

When poverty, fear, guns, bullying, drugs and danger are your childhood companions, very often with parental abuse and neglect, you see things differently. Survival becomes your goal. Just drive around the North side, recall the recent murders and mayhem and “see” what you are looking at. The tragic culture is glaring and requires a deep
understanding if you are a dispatcher of Justice. Shadia Tadros is from the city and has this understanding and will bring this vital depth to the bench in Syracuse and cause a deeper awareness of how inner-city crime should be addressed. Few can do this. That is why I am supporting Shadia Tadros, knowing that others will support her opponent. Their lives and mine have caused a different insight. It is my belief that if Shadia Tadros is on the bench, punishing childhoods will have a friend that gets it, that understands. Appropriate mitigating circumstance will be perceived and the number of days our youth waste on a jail bed will be less. That matters. And options that give them a better life will be sought. The system needs Shadia Tadros.

There is a great difference between one brought up in poverty and danger and a bad person. Especially in drug related crime. Often seen as the only reprieve. When one that understands these things, meets another, it is as clear as day. I had a long talk with Shadia. Shadia Tadros has a sense of fairness and a passion for the plight of the disenfranchised that sets her apart. Shadia cares strongly about that kid waiting in prison, with a childhood that would bring you to tears, wondering why, “what did I do to deserve this extreme?” Alone, broken, pillows stained with tears, not understanding or being understood. I have a friend. A kid serving her 6th sentence for substance abuse, her early 20’s gone in jail instead of rehab. A kid that grew up with severe familial abuse, mother and father of the most tragic kind, among drugs, danger, and peers with similar difficulties. This is what we do over and over and over. Workable rehabilitative option is not in place or amply sought.         

Shadia Tadros attended CW Post where she received her Bachelor’s degree in English. She took a year off and was employed by a legal publishing company where she worked with editors and lawyers. Then she attended Penn State Law where she also received her Master’s Degree in Public Administration, Shadia has an M.P.A. as well as a Juris Doctorate, holding joint degrees in Law and Public Administration. Through her law practice and volunteerism, Shadia Tadros has worked with local attorneys, government agency employees and religious leaders. She is viewed in the Syracuse community as a legal advocate for those who may otherwise not have a voice. In Shadia’s words: “I have helped countless people who would otherwise not have had access to meaningful legal assistance.”

I believe that if your heart is right your mind will follow. Especially if you were brought up well, and you are a Judge and preside over the poor. The difference in suburban culture and the inner city is massive with right and wrong perceived on gravely different levels. There is a sense of injustice among poor populations that they learn from birth. They see too much dispassion, too much death, too much jailing, too little fairness. Right and wrong has a different bar in this environment of hopelessness, often with one parent that is often an addict, often with neglect or abuse at home, not a quarter to your name and the nearest park a place of recent death and far too many friends and relatives in jail. Too few are in pursuit of remedy. Tears and grave sadness not heard, must have champions. Please vote November 6th, 2018 for Shadia Tadros.

The travesty is that in this great land where values were once our finest beacon we accept mass incarceration throughout the land. Outcry is not heard. Alternative is not amply sought though many viable avenues are available. I urge you to please reflect on what it is like to be a black woman in Syracuse who can expect her father, husband or son to be imprisoned. Locally one in 3 black men will be incarcerated. The statistics in recent years are similar for all inner-city poor. The majority of crimes in Syracuse are drug related. There is much we can do. Complacency must be moved to recognition that something is very wrong.    

Shadia Tadros, is that rare breed, the kind we need to influence and reshape idea and discourse, and she will be a wonderful addition and much needed asset to the honorable bench in Syracuse. Please ‘VOTE’ for Shadia Tadros for Syracuse City Court Judge on Row E, Working Families on November 6th.   

Bill McClellan