The recent combined investiture ceremonies for both Lonnell Matthews, Jr. and Avery Patton will be remembered for some time to come. Matthews was confirmed as the new Juvenile Court Clerk, and Patton was confirmed as Director of Operations for the Juvenile Court Clerk office.
The Juvenile Justice Center lobby was packed with family, friends, guests and other elected officials supporting both honorees. Judge Sheila D.J. Calloway handled their swearing in and pledge to serve their positions to the fullest capacity. Distinctive remarks and words of wisdom and genuine support were shared by well wishing colleagues and others who could fit into the time frame given for the event.
The newly sworn in clerk was asked how he’d make a difference in this position now that he’d earned it and been sworn in.
“I believe that each young person has a fighting chance and with understanding and support, that chance can be maximized and be essential in helping them to get and keep their lives on the right track,” Matthews said. “Of course a key function of the court and judicial system is to deal with the behaviors and actions which initially led them to our doors. But unless we do all possible to work with that young person and help to position them for productivity, we will lose them and our window of opportunity will close.”
Avery Patton was sworn in with his wife by his side. He accepted his official confirmation and shared his gratitude. He promised to support Clerk Matthews as well as the judges and overall operations of the court as required and needed.
Various clergy, elected officials, and a few members of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity spoke and shared photo ops since Matthews and Patton are fraternity brothers. Clerk Matthews’ father, Lonnell Matthews, Sr., is a member of that organization as well. His wife, Johari, their two young children, mother and father, and grandmother were also in attendance. Each shared how proud they were of their community trailblazer.
Prior to becoming the Juvenile Court Clerk, Lonnell Matthews, Jr. was very active in youth programs, a former Metro Councilman and aide to former Mayor Megan Barry as the director of Neighborhoods and Community Engagement. He replaces former Juvenile Court Clerk David Smith had held that position since 2010.