Guyanese-born the Hon. Bahaati E. Pitt, a Bronx resident, was appointed as an interim judge of the Civil Court of the City of New York in June 2016 and as a judge of the Criminal Court of the City of New York in December 2016. Judge Pitt is assigned to the Bronx Criminal Court.
Prior to her appointment, Judge Pitt was a principal law clerk in Bronx Supreme Court, Civil Division. She has also served as a court attorney in the Bronx Family Court, Bronx Criminal Court and Bronx Civil Court.
From 2012 to 2014, Judge Pitt said she was an adjunct professor with the Borough of Manhattan Community College, teaching Real Property and Real Estate Transactions for Paralegals; Wills, Trusts and Estates for Paralegals; Business Etiquette for Professional Administrative Development; and Time Management for Professional Administrative Development.
Judge Pitt is a former chairperson of the Black Bar Association of Bronx County, having served as president from 2003 to 2006.
She is a former chairperson of Board Development for Legal Services NYC-Bronx, and a former chairperson of the Youth Services Committee of Bronx Community Board 10, where she maintained membership for more than 15 years.
In law school, Judge Pitt was elected the first African-American female president of the Student Bar Association at the State University of New York at Buffalo, School of Law.
She said her personal and career paths have been influenced by strong Black women included her mother — who left Guyana, moved to London to become a nurse, and eventually to the United States — with two small children.
“I watched my mother often work double and triple shifts to make sure that my brother and myself were able to excel,” Judge Pitt said. “My mom taught me hard work and to be fearless.”
Another woman was the judge she interned with in law school, who encouraged her to run for president of the Student Bar Association, “which made me the first Black Woman to hold that position.
“Now retired from the Appellate Division 4th Department, Justice Rose Sconiers taught me to believe that I could change things,” Judge Pitt said.
Judge Pitt says the 2017 Caribbean Life Impact Award will be “so special” to her on many levels.
“Not only is this my first award as a judge, it is the one that allows me to celebrate my heritage,” she said. “Navigating life as an immigrant was challenging for many reasons, but being Guyanese is one of the most important parts of my identity.”
Judge Pitt also says Caribbean Life newspaper also played a “significant role” in her life.
“Growing up in my neighborhood, I remember seeing the Caribbean Life newspaper in most shops,” she said. “My mom, family members and friend’s parents all read this newspaper. It was a huge part of the very fabric of the community that raised me, and continues to be so today.”