A judge from Bibb County, Georgia, was recently surprised to find herself in the spotlight after her inspirational speech went viral.
Bibb County Superior Court Judge Verda Colvin volunteers for a program called “Consider the Consequences.” The class is provided to troubled youth aged 9-17, and aims to explicitly demonstrate where a life of crime could lead.
Colvin starts by unfurling a large white body bag.
“You can get raped in institutions with other women,” she says, addressing the girls in audience, or, “you can be in this body bag.”
If it seems harsh, what she said next left no doubt that the words came from a place of love.
“Anybody can do nothing,” said Colvin. “Why would you want to do nothing? You are special, and you are uniquely made, and nobody can do what you are meant to do in this world. Nobody. And if you don’t do it, we won’t have it. If you continue to go the way you’re going, that will be 17 more gifts that we’re missing as a society.”
Another man in the courtroom begins handing out tissues to the kids, many of whom are in tears.
“When I see you all hurting, it makes me hurt too, because I don’t even know you all personally, but I love each and every one of you,” says the judge. “I don’t want to have to sentence you as an adult when you come into my court at the age of 17. I don’t want to have to experience that myself, and I don’t want you to experience that.”
Then the judge herself begins to cry, reaching for a tissue as she finishes her speech. A video of the moving encounter was posted to Facebook last week, and has already been viewed by millions.
Colvin says she was surprised by the reaction, but feels that it must have been destiny.
“I wanted to speak to their hearts and that’s what I did,” said the judge in a conversation with 11 Alive Atlanta. “I’m continually amazed because it renews what I’ve always thought - at the end of the day, everybody really cares about everybody else.“