Newly-elected judge dies from cancer weeks after sworn in

One of the 19 judges known for the "Black Girl Magic" campaign has died of pancreatic cancer. Judge Cassandra Hollemon passed away just weeks after being sworn in. 

"I’m devastated," says Brandon Hollemon, Cassandra's son. "I am shocked. I can’t believe it.”

Judge Hollemon took her last breath surrounded by family at around 1 a.m. Monday at Ben Taub Hospital. Her loved ones say one minute, she was absolutely enjoying a dream come true and the next, she is gone. 

“Once she found it (the cancer),  it took her and it just progressed," adds Brandon. "There was no time. It was very aggressive. Cancer sucks.”

Brandon and Brandy Hollemon say that their mother just found out last week she had Stage 4 pancreatic cancer after being misdiagnosed in December 2018 with chronic bronchitis. 

"She turned out to have blood clots in her lungs, pulmonary embolisms which was caused by the pancreatic cancer,” explains Brandy. 

"Finally reaching this, then getting this devastating news, it’s just heartbreaking," adds Brandon. 

The Harris County Criminal Court at Law #12 Judge was in a history-making photo of a group of women who made the world take notice and the woman who was behind the camera? Photographer Christin McQueen, who remembers the once-in-a-lifetime photo shoot and Judge Hollemon very well. 

"She was the one who invited me to take the picture with them," says McQueen. "I never even thought of it. She was like, 'You should jump in one with us.' I’m glad I ended up doing that. You never think we’ll lose one of them this soon. You always feel like you have a little more time, so it’s pretty sad to hear." 

Cassandra, a South Texas College of Law graduate, practiced law for decades before becoming part of the Black Girl Magic movement during the 2018 elections. In January, the 19 black female judges were just sworn in after being voted into office in a Democratic sweep.

"I want my mom to be remembered for her greatness," says Brandy. 

"It just feels like a little piece of that history is broken," adds McQueen.

"I’m just glad she’s at peace and no longer in pain," say both Brandon and Brandy of their amazing mother, who has touched and inspired people all throughout the world.