Bragging on Dennise (Again)

As I mentioned two weeks ago, I have yet another reason to brag about Dennise.

Tonight at SMU, Dennise will receive the SMU Women’s Symposium “Profiles in Leadership Award.” The Profiles in Leadership Award “recognizes Dallas women who exemplify the purpose of the Women’s Symposium, which is to educate women for social and political leadership.”

Judge Garcia is, as you have heard me mention before, the “presiding judge” of the Dallas County Family Courts and the first Hispanic woman elected to a county-wide state district court in Dallas history. Among the other honorees tonight are Rev. Jo Hudson from Cathedral of Hope, and Rev. Bubba Dailey from Austin Street Centre for the homeless.

It’s been a pleasure for me to be a colleague to both of them for many years now. I have known Bubba for almost 20 years, and remember fondly many nights when I’d take church groups to the shelter and Bubba and I would “catch up” in between the craziness of serving the clients there. Jo serves a church with many similar social and theological values to ours, and it’s been a pleasure visiting with her from time to time about our common dreams and visions for ministry.

Along with Anne Marie Weiss-Armush –founder and chair of the Board of Directors of DFW International– and Stacy Eppers –who has significant experience in mentoring young women through her work with Community Partners of Dallas– this is quite a dynamic group of women, and I know Dennise is truly honored to be among them.

What’s really fun about Dennise getting this award is that the symposium is an event she was involved in as a student. I recall how, during that first year we met, she worked as a student organizer and participant in the symposium. (In fact, I think the Daily Campus even ran a story about her involvement in the symposium…) So, I can remember how honored she was to be among such women of achievement even back then. And I can specifically remember how honored she was to be among women who broke ground, broke stereotypes, and pushed the boundaries of what women can achieve.

Now, years later, she’s one of those women of achievement, breaking ground through her election and service to the courts. And like her election itself –and rise to presiding judge– I know she’s both amazed and humbled at the same time.

She couldn’t be more grateful. And you’ve got to know I couldn’t be prouder.

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Eric Folkerth is a minister, musician, author and blogger. He is Senior Pastor of Kessler Park UMC United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas. Previously, he was pastor at Northaven UMC in Dallas for seventeen years. Eric loves to write on topics of spirituality, social justice, music/art and politics. The entries on this blog reflect that diversity of interests. His passion for social justice goes beyond mere words. He’s been arrested at the White House, defending immigrants and “The Dreamers,” and he’s officiated at same sex weddings in his churches, in defiance of what some believe is Methodist teaching. Eric is an avid blogger and published author, and 2017 recipient of the prestigeous Kuchling Humanitarian Award from Dallas’ Black Tie Dinner. (Human Rights Campaign) Eric has led or co-led hundreds of persons on mission trips around the globe, to places such as Mexico, Haiti, Russia, and Nepal. He has worked with lay persons to build ten homes, and one Community Center, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Dallas. He’s a popular preacher, and often tackles challenging issues of social justice in his writings and sermons. His wife, Judge Dennise Garcia, is a State District Judge for Dallas, County. As judge of the 303rd Family District Court, she consistently gets high ratings from area lawyers, and was named “best judge” by The Dallas Observer. First elected in 2004, she was the first Latina ever elected to a county-wide bench in Dallas County, and is currently the longest service district judge in that district. She was re-elected for a fourth term in 2018. They have the world’s best daughter, Maria, and an incredible dog, Daisy. Find links to Eric’s music-related websites, at the top of this site’s navigation menu.

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