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Dawn Ison Sworn In As First Black Woman U.S. Attorney For Michigan's Eastern District

Dawn Ison Sworn In As First Black Woman U.S. Attorney For Michigan's Eastern District

She’s hoping she isn’t the last!

Dawn Ison is making history as the first Black woman U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, Fox 2 Detroit reports. 

Ison is a Detroit native, graduating from Cass Tech High School and holding a law degree from Wayne State University. A veteran attorney, Ison has worked for more than a dozen years as a criminal defense attorney and served for nearly two decades as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, focused on public corruption and drug trafficking. Now, she has been sworn in as the next U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, making history as the first Black woman to hold the title. 

“Much like our Vice President Kamala Harris said, I might be the first, but I won’t be the last. It is huge but what I will say is there are so many qualified women before me who could have served in this role, but what they did was pave the way for me,” said Ison. 

For Ison, her work is personal, having overcome a number of life obstacles including the murder of her father when she was just 9 years old. 

“I have been a victim of a crime. My mother was a single parent, worked at [the] post office and struggled to take care of me and my brothers. I am the wife of [a] retired police officer. I’m the mother of a young Black son - so it is this lived experience that I hope to bring to this role,” Ison explained. 

She couples her zero tolerance policy for crime and corruption with a double dose of commitment to community, focused on rooting out systemic discrimination in policing, housing and employment. It is her hope that her work will make residents feel safe, protected, and valued. 

“I believe that having had that perspective I can relate to so many people. I have represented people, the same types of people that I’ve prosecuted in cases. This empathy, this lived experience combined with extensive professional experience is what I want to bring to this role. I had a lot of unfortunate circumstances I have overcome in my life, but simply put I am a little girl from the eastside of Detroit with a big mouth, who refused to be defined by her circumstance, and who wanted to use her mouth to help people like her, like her mother, and I have devoted my entire life to doing that,” said Ison. 

Congratulations, Dawn!

Photo Courtesy of The Detroit News