One Augustan is making waves of change in the courts in her home state of Georgia.
Carla McMillian had goals of becoming the first lawyer in her family, but she never thought she would become a judge. Now, she proudly stands as the first Asian-American judge on the Georgia Court of Appeals.
McMillian's grandparents immigrated to Augusta in the 1920's, shortly after the Chinese community originally came to the area in the late 1800's to build the Augusta Canal.
"The story is that they told their friends and family back in their villages in China about Augusta being a great place to grow up," said McMillian.
She is the eldest of three brothers and a sister...all were born and raised in Augusta. She is an alumna of Westminster School, Duke University, and the University of Georgia Law School.
She met her husband in law school, and began her practice in Atlanta. She never thought she would be a judge...until one day...
"What changed was I took a look at my 2 kids, they were pretty young at the time, I wanted to be able to tell them 20 years from now, what it was to serve the community and to take a risk," said McMillian.
She says her grandparents instilled acts of services as a high priority in her all her family.
"I'm really proud of the fact that I am the first Asian-American Court of Appeals Judge in the state, and I'm following the footsteps of my Aunt Margaret who was the first Asian-American or Chinese-American woman to graduate from the Medical College of Georgia," said McMillian.
She took her first place as Court Judge for Fayette County in 2010, and was honored when Governor Nathan Deal appointed her to State Court earlier this year.
"I do think that it's important for Georgians to see at all levels of the justice system that there is diversity on the bench and within our prosecutor ranks and public defenders, and our civil attorneys because it gives our public more confidence they are represented at all levels," said McMillian.
McMillan said as the first Asian-American Appellate Judge appointed in Georgia, she also wants to be the first Asian-American judge elected statewide.
She is already preparing for the statewide elections set for May 2014.
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