Commissioner Henri E. Brooks was elected to the Shelby County Board of Commissioners on August 4, 2022, to represent District 7. She was also elected to the Board of Commissioners in August 2006 for two terms. Henri began her career as a public school teacher and has dedicated that career to insisting upon accountability in the institutions, systems, and processes that impact the lives of our children. Henri Brooks took the courageous stand to stop the long-standing violation of African-American children’s due process rights. She is directly responsible for the current overhaul of the Memphis and Shelby County Juvenile Court by filing a complaint with the Department of Justice to investigate the Court. The DOJ found that the Court was in substantial violation of the Constitutional rights of African-American youth, based solely on their race. The Justice Department subsequently entered into a rigorous Memorandum of Agreement with the Court to provide due process, equal protection, elimination of disproportionate minority contact (DMC), and protection from harm. She then formed the Juvenile Court Monitors Program to ensure Court reforms are implemented.
Commissioner Brooks is the only public servant who has held participatory town hall meetings on the investigation and the MOA reforms, where citizens actually get an opportunity to provide input. She formed the Community Monitors program to keep a vigilant eye on Juvenile Court to ensure that the mandated reforms are implemented; and she has formed the Juvenile Court Oversight Ad Hoc Committee to bring accountability, transparency, and public awareness during the Juvenile Court reform process.
Commissioner Brooks formerly served as Chairperson of the Core City, Neighborhoods & Housing Committee, the Community Services Committee, and the Brownfield Advisory Committee. Her stewardship of the Commission’s Core City, Neighborhoods, and Housing Committee demonstrated her commitment and involvement in activities to build and improve the greater Shelby County area.
Henri served as State Representative for the 92nd District for 14 years. She led the House Judiciary’s Constitutional Protections and Criminal Practices & Procedures subcommittees. Henri chaired the Tennessee Black Caucus and the Caucus Title VI committee, and the Children and Gun Safety Study committee. She sponsored and passed the first state-level legislation in the entire country, enforcing Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in all federally funded entities (Public Chapter 502).
Commissioner Brooks is a graduate of Memphis public schools, earning her BS in Education from the University of Memphis; she attended the Nashville School of Law and is a 2012 graduate of Leadership Memphis.