It’s a new day: Acosta should lead the U.S. Attorney’s office

Adora Obi Nweze

Since the first appointment for United States Attorney in the Northern District of Florida in 1850, there has been a tradition of appointing White men to the most honorable position.  In over 170 years, there has only been one woman appointed to the position.  And there has been no Blacks appointed.

It is a new day, and it is time for the Biden-Harris Administration to promote greater diversity and inclusion.

For the past 18 years, Winifred Acosta has served the public as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Northern District of Florida. She has worked in every division of the Office as a criminal trial prosecutor, civil litigator, and appellate attorney.  

She has been a proud public servant for over 25 years, having also served as an Assistant State Attorney and Assistant Statewide Prosecutor.  As the Biden administration considers its appointment of the next U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida, it should seriously consider Acosta.  

If Acosta is appointed, she would become the first Black U.S. Attorney and the second woman ever appointed in this district.      

This is a new day that offers the opportunity to bring diversity to a position where there has been none. Acosta is imminently qualified to lead the Office as expressed by Former U.S. Attorney Gregory R. Miller in his letter to the Judicial Advisory Committee.

The latter dated July 14, 2021 read:

“I believe Winifred Acosta has the skills and temperament to serve as an excellent United States Attorney, and I am pleased to recommend her for this important position. I am confident that she has the necessary experience to become a highly valued and respected leader of the United States Attorney’s Office.”

In addition to having worked in every division of the Office, Acosta has also served on three vital committees within the Office – the hiring committee, the indictment review committee, and the chairperson of the diversity committee.    She has promoted diversity and inclusion by spearheading numerous events, including a panel discussion on the relevance of the historically Black Colleges and University experience, a presentation by the Riley House Museum, a keynote address by the Late Honorable Joseph W. Hatchett, and most recently, a tribute in celebration of the life and legacy of the Honorable Stephan P. Mickle, Sr.

Acosta is also a Department of Justice ambassador, interacting with law students and providing information about opportunities within the department. She has mentored many new attorneys, law students, college students, and high school students. She has routinely served on law school panels and delivered speeches motivating others to reach their potential and diversify the legal profession. 

She has also been very involved throughout the community as a role model to many young people. Her efforts were recognized at the First Annual Boys and Girls Club Banquet in Live Oak, Florida, where she served as the keynote speaker and also received the “Key to the City of Live Oak,” a city proclamation, and other community awards. She was an active member of the Steering committee for the Club, the first such club in Suwannee County.   

As someone who incidentally became a prosecutor as a result of her older sister’s victimization when she was about 13 years old, Acosta has given back to society by serving Florida and the nation as a local, statewide, and federal prosecutor advocating “justice for all.” 

Acosta is currently one of two Black attorneys in the district. This is a new day, and Winifred Acosta is a proud public servant who deserves to be appointed as the next U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.    

Dr. Adora Obi Nweze is President of the NAACP Florida State Conference member, NAACP National Board of Directors