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Brooklyn legal community says goodbye to Izetta Johnson at retirement party

October 13, 2015 By Rob Abruzzese Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Members of the Brooklyn court system said goodbye to Izetta Johnson after 35 years. From left: Hon. Lewis L. Douglass, Hon. Yvonne Lewis, Izetta Johnson, Aaliyah Johnson and Ashley Johnson. Eagle photos by Rob Abruzzese.
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Judges, lawyers, court employees and a few former interns joined the friends and family of Izetta Johnson as they packed into Borough Hall on Friday for her retirement party that was 35 years in the making.

“This is both a sweet and a bitter time for the entire Supreme Court of Kings County and indeed the entire unified court system,” Justice Deborah Dowling said. “It’s sweet because Izetta gets to do some of the stuff that she wants to do and will not have to answer to anyone but God himself. No more time clocks. The bitter part is that the court system is losing one of its greatest assets.”

Johnson is technically the senior management analyst for the Kings County Unified Court system, but she has worn many hats during her 35 years. Her two biggest accomplishments include helping to run the Black History Month Committee since 1992 and running the Student Employment and Internship Program.

“This is, for me, just a wonderful occasion, but a very sad one as our community is losing a treasure,” said Associate Justice of the Appellate Division Second Department Sylvia Hinds-Radix. “Izetta, you and your family should be tremendously proud of the legacy that you have left in this court system.”

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Johnson didn’t leave the party empty handed — she was presented with the Service Award by Chief Clerk Charles Small and the Kings County Courts Black History Month Committee Award by Hon. Yvonne Lewis.

“What should I do, Izetta? What should I do without you, Izetta?” Justice Yvonne Lewis wondered. “We love you, we love you, we love you and we’re going to miss you. It’s almost too much to believe that you might be gone. I was here long, long before you so I thought I wouldn’t be here to see you gone. Thank you for giving me all of the credit all of the time. You are virtuous and humble.”

Many speeches were given that night and people kept coming back to her work with the interns and during Black History Month. Hon. Lewis Douglass, the longtime chair of the Black History Month Committee even made a confession.

“Izetta ran everything,” Douglass said. “She would say ‘This is what you’re supposed to say today.’ OK, Izetta. ‘This is who you are supposed to designate as chairman.’ OK, Izetta. For the next 20 years, I got all kinds of congratulations for running the Black History Month Committee, but I’m here to tell you that she was the one who really ran that committee.”

There were many other planned speeches, including one from Associate Justice of the Appellate Division L. Priscilla Hall and Rev. Daryl G. Bloodsaw of the First Baptist Church of Crown Heights. Many other people felt so passionate about Johnson that a few, including her son Ashley Johnson and granddaughter Aaliyah Johnson, and a pair of former interns Brandon Benard and Mildred Armstrong, gave speeches about how much she had done in their lives.. Naturally, both interns claimed to owe their careers to Johnson.

Johnson, who also serves as a deaconess at her church, might be retiring, but she isn’t done working. She has already accepted a pre-appointment to serve after retirement with the board of trustees for the Kings County Courts Law Libraries.

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