Judge Verda Colvin speaking to about 20 children in a Bibb County Courtroom (courtesy Bibb County Sheriff's Office)

Judge Verda Colvin speaking to about 20 children in a Bibb County Courtroom (courtesy Bibb County Sheriff's Office)

A Bibb County judge's tough-talk to at-risk children has gone viral. As of Friday evening, roughly 150,000 people have viewed the 10-minute discussion by Superior Court Judge Verda Colvin to about 20 kids in a Bibb County courtroom. GPB Macon's Michael Caputo spoke with Judge Colvin about her motivation to give the difficult speech to these children.
An interview with Bibb County Superior Court Judge Verda Colvin.

Michael Caputo: So what program brought you in these 20 or so kids together in that courtroom a couple of days ago. 

Judge Verda Colvin: It was Sheriff (David) Davis along with Lieutenant (Ellis) Sinclair came up with this concept Lieutenant Sinclair came up with the name Consider the Consequences. And it started in May of 2015. And when they were thinking about starting it looked Lieutenant SInclair came to me. Pitched it and said, "We'd like you to be the judge." I said of course, sure. Children are my heart and I have a certain passion for them and people in general so I readily agreed. 

Michael Caputo: Well and the passion comes through the talk you gave is an emotional one let me give you a little brief snippet of what you said that day. 

Colvin In Courtroom:  Well whether anyone told you before your special, you uniquely made. Stop acting like you're trash. Stop being disrespectful to your parents. Care about your future. Be somebody. Not nothing. 

Michael Caputo: Why be so blunt to the kids, because you were in the beginning. 

Judge Verda Colvin: I have done this since May of 2015 and I don't know if I've become more committed, more drawn. But it seems like every month I'm seeing children and the offenses and the things that they're doing are more egregious more in opposite of what we think our children should be doing. 

Judge Verda Colvin: And last month I came with the idea that I've got to hit these kids where I hit them so hard initially that when I began my love talk they will have their hearts open to hear me. And so that's when I came up with the idea that I've got a show them the body bag I've got to show them the jumpsuit I've got to tell them where they're headed. Because if I don't get their attention then they can't hear the part that reminds them of the specialness that they hold uniquely theirs. 

Michael Caputo: And you do show a body bag at the very beginning but what you do later in your talk. I mean you talk very personally to these kids in fact you even talk as a parent to these kids. Why that approach. 

Judge Verda Colvin: Because I think they have to come outside of themselves and empathize with others. Raising kids myself I know at a certain age is all about them. And sometimes you have to get them to see. Yeah its about you but look at the impact you're making with others who you care about. So that's why I asked the question: Raise your hand if your mom has ever done at least one thing that you're proud of, that makes you happy. I knew when I get them to admit that then they would hear the next part and I had to share with them my story with my son and how I went back to my office and I cried because I had to get them to understand what you do affects the person that you love the most who you know you have in your corner every step of the way. Because if I could get to that then they have something outside of themselves to help them reach for a better goal than what they've been doing thus far. 

Michael Caputo: Now I know you didn't expect this to go viral. I mean I don't mean I don't think you expected this is going to be recorded. But does it make you wonder how it's reaching people when it's reaching people like this. 

Judge Verda Colvin: It is incredible. I have been inundated with e-mails and Facebook messages and I keep getting the number up and someone told me it's like 500,000 views. This as has been on YouTube. Five hundred thousand excuse me. 

Judge Verda Colvin: I am amazed but you know what it goes toward, and I say this all the time. People are hurting. People have empty spots in their hearts and they need to know that that spot can be filled with something other than the negative. And if I do nothing else while I'm sitting on this bench I want people to know there is something even in this crazy world we live in that you can fill that spot here that you can be a trendsetter for those who come after you to say you can do this because I say all the time. Life is hard and its harder than that. But there is something outside of themselves that can be greater than what they are now. 

Michael Caputo: Judge Verda Colvin. Thank you so very very much for spending a few minutes of our time and we have that that talk on the GPB Macon Facebook page go ahead and check it out it's worth seeing for sure. Thanks for being with us. 

Judge Verda Colvin: Thank you for having me. 

Support for Health, Education, and Poverty  reporting on GPB Macon comes from the Peyton Anderson Foundation.