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Meet Judge Rosie Speedlin Gonzalez

Today we’d like to introduce you to Judge Rosie Speedlin Gonzalez.

Hi Judge Gonzalez, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I was born in Brownsville, Texas to a mother and father who instilled in me a love for both culture and country. My mother, Alicia Gonzalez, who passed away in late 2018 taught me the importance of service to my community and the value of people in my life.

After my father took ill, I left my job as a Probation Officer in Austin, Texas to pursue my law degree at St. Mary’s University. My mother requested that I pursue my education so we could access healthcare and resources for my father. (He passed during my second year of law school).

I graduated from St. Mary’s University with my law degree in 2001, then practiced law for 16 years, becoming the only lawyer in South Texas to be certified as a Child Welfare Specialist by the National Association of Counsel for Children. During my law career, I represented hundreds of children who reside in foster care or the CPS system. I mentored several new attorneys, who went on to develop successful law careers.

I had a solo practice, where I committed to hard work and service to my clients. I love the law. This passion led me to run for judge in 2018 for County Court 13; a misdemeanor domestic violence court in Bexar County. After a successful & victorious campaign, I took the bench in January 2019 as the presiding judge of Bexar County Court at Law No. 13.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
It definitely has not been a smooth road. But that is why I take this path. I find value in creating spaces for others, as a trailblazer. One of the most difficult avenues of my journey includes creating the Reflejo Court; the first domestic violence drug court in Bexar County.

When I took the bench, Reflejo Court was only a vision. I knew we needed the community and stakeholders to believe in what we were positing while also gaining access to a funding stream. My wife (Dr. Stacy Speedlin Gonzalez) assisted me with conceptualizing a plan to file for a House Bill to create the program.

After our bill was signed into law without funding, we went to work to apply for grants. After six months, we were able to get semi-funded by the Commissioner’s Court. Finally, we had our first cohort enroll during COVID when the courthouse was shut down. While this did not stop our efforts, it created many obstacles and the need for creativity.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I devoted my career as an attorney and judge to obtaining fairness and justice for the disenfranchised and the voiceless. I continue to be committed to ensuring that women have a seat at the policy-making table of their respective communities of origin.

I am also the first gay judge to be elected in Bexar County. I consider this to be a huge honor and I do not take the responsibility lightly. Visibility is imperative to marginalized communities; the LGBTQ+ community needs to see people like themselves represented in all facets of life and profession.

I am the creator of the Reflejo Court, a drug court of first impressions. This was done through innovation and the utilization of our civic engagement process. During the 2019 Texas Legislative Session, I co-authored HB 3529 which was sponsored by State Rep. Roland Gutierrez and Senator Jose Menendez.

HB 3529 was signed into law by Gov. Abbott and mandates that a Specialty Drug Court be implemented within Bexar County Court at Law No. 13’s Domestic Violence Docket. At that time, I recognized the lack of resources in the community of San Antonio for our most vulnerable citizens.

Further, I was aware that the most dangerous places in our city can exist at the home. I have dedicated my time on the bench to address the needs of an ever-increasing problem in our city. Creating Reflejo Court allowed me to serve as a faculty member for the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, educating others on how to start a drug court for first-time domestic violence offenders with substance abuse issues.

I have been recognized for my community work and leadership by various organizations and associations and previously consulted women seeking political/public office. In 2020, I was chosen as the recipient of the Alice Wright Franzke Feminist Award for outstanding work done and will continue to do that by promoting the ideals of peace, empowerment, cooperation, equality, and respect for all persons.

Since taking the bench, I was honored as the PIONEER AWARD recipient by Bexar County Commissioners, awarded the POLITICAL ICON award by the PRIDE Center, and recently spoke at the Pride Celebration in Mexico City, under the invitation of the National Diversity Council.

I have also served as an assistant lecturer at St. Mary’s University Law School where I co-taught the Child Welfare Law Seminar with tenured professor Ana Novoa, and previously the Child Abuse & Domestic Violence Class at UTSA Downtown campus as a guest lecturer.

Additionally, I am a featured writer for LA PRENSA TEXAS, the author of their MANGUERA MEMORIES column; and a frequent guest speaker on the1Radio podcast hosted by Ms. Neka Cleaver. And finally, I am published in peer-reviewed journals on the subjects of Child Welfare and Creating a Domestic Violence Drug Court.

Can you tell us more about what you were like growing up?
Growing up, I had wonderful parents. They really supported and championed me to become my authentic self. My mother was a Mexican American woman, who was proud of her American roots. She encouraged me to live to my highest potential and she exemplified how to serve her community.

I learned from her to become a voice for others and give others a seat at the table. My father was hard-working and dedicated to his family. I am a compilation of both of them; hard-working, authentic, and fiercely dedicated to my friends and family.

As a child and a teenager, I always had an artistic flare. I love art and creativity, creating something from my mind and heart, and bringing others into the process.

I have always had a big, contagious personality and never had trouble making friends. I have always insisted on enjoying life and love to surround myself with others to live it to the fullest. I was also into sports and carved out time for outdoor adventures.

Image Credits:

Rosie and Luis Vasquez Photography

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1 Comment

  1. Maria Del Rosario Lopez

    July 23, 2022 at 11:33 pm

    You are a great role model. Proud of you!

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