Wayne County judge hopes to inspire younger generation of Arab American women

Judge Mariam Bazzi is leader in her community

WAYNE COUNTY, Mich. – A Wayne County judge hopes to inspire a younger generation of Arab American women and she’s leading by example.

Judge Mariam Bazzi is a mother and leader in the community where she grew up.

“Even as a lawyer, the idea of being a judge is always something that I think most of us think about, but I just didn’t think it could be real until water into my career,” Bazzi said.

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The path to becoming a judge was a long one for Bazzi. She didn’t get there overnight and she hopes her hard work paves the way for future Arab American women in her community.

“I’m a first-generation Arab American and my parents came to the U.S. for a better life, but there are certainly some traditional things going on,” Bazzi said.

Bazzi’s parents came to Michigan from Lebanon in the 1970s.

“Women didn’t traditionally work outside of the household when I was growing up,” Bazzi said.

The family settled in Dearborn where Bazzi was raised and went to school.

“When I was a teenager I didn’t even think I’d have a career,” Bazzi said. “I just didn’t think that a career was something that I would have. I just assumed, you know, I’d get married and have kids and certainly, there’s nothing wrong with that path but that’s what I assumed. And then I eventually grew, went to school, and stayed in school and really enjoyed what I was doing and everything just kind of developed from one moment to the next.”

Bazzi said her friends teased her growing up. Her nickname was “The Lawyer,” since she always seemed to have a knack for arguing her case. Often she would refuse to give up until she won.

“I certainly never thought in a million years that I would be a sitting judge. So this has been quite an incredible journey,” Bazzi said.

The journey was a long one. In 2006, Bazzi became a Wayne County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney. Then-governor Rick Snyder appointed her to the 3rd Circuit Court in Wayne County in 2017.

“It was important for me to serve in this community and to be active in the Arab American community because I wanted to be, to someone what others were for me a guide. Somebody that can help mentor someone that can help push them. Someone that they can see themselves in,” Bazzi said.

Bazzi worked while raising a family. Her children are now 16, 13, and 12 years old.

Bazzi continues to make mentoring young women a priority, helping future generations, as a way to give back to a community that’s backed her along the way.

“We all have to support each other. We have to recognize that we’re all different, we all have our challenges and lift each other up and recognize that we can help each other along this road,” Bazzi said.

Bazzi is the second Arab American woman appointed to the bench in Wayne County.

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