Win or lose on Tuesday, Philadelphia City Council candidates Deja Lynn Alvarez, Adrian Rivera-Reyes, and Lauren Vidas already have made history.

The three Democrats are among the first openly LGBTQ Council hopefuls on a major-party primary ballot in the city. The Alvarez candidacy is a milestone for Philly’s transgender community, as is that of Henry Sias; he and fellow Democrat Tiffany Palmer are seeking seats on Philadelphia’s Court of Common Pleas as openly LGBTQ candidates.

Together, the candidates are an unprecedented “rainbow wave” that has veteran activists like Tyrone Smith and Kathy Hogan feeling proud.

“It brings me joy in so many ways,” said Smith, a Southwest Philly resident who came out as a teenager, helped lead the campaign against AIDS in communities of color, and, at 76, is still fighting on behalf of LGBTQ youth.

Win or lose on Tuesday, Philadelphia City Council candidates Deja Lynn Alvarez, Adrian Rivera-Reyes, and Lauren Vidas already have made history.

The three Democrats are among the first openly LGBTQ Council hopefuls on a major-party primary ballot in the city. The Alvarez candidacy is a milestone for Philly’s transgender community, as is that of Henry Sias; he and fellow Democrat Tiffany Palmer are seeking seats on Philadelphia’s Court of Common Pleas as openly LGBTQ candidates.

Together, the candidates are an unprecedented “rainbow wave” that has veteran activists like Tyrone Smith and Kathy Hogan feeling proud.

“It brings me joy in so many ways,” said Smith, a Southwest Philly resident who came out as a teenager, helped lead the campaign against AIDS in communities of color, and, at 76, is still fighting on behalf of LGBTQ youth.

This year’s crowded campaigns for City Council, judge, and city commissioner feature several public school parents and teachers running for the first time.

The parents who responded to the Notebook’s request to interview first-time candidates told us they felt compelled to make the leap into politics to help other Philadelphia families.

Court of Common Pleas

Tiffany Palmer is running to become a judge on the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, a contest in which names on the ballot are often unfamiliar to voters. Of the 25 judicial candidates on Tuesday’s primary ballot, Palmer is one of just four who are “highly recommended” by the Philadelphia Bar Association.

Mt. Airy resident Tiffany L. Palmer, who is running for Judge of the Court in Common Pleas in the May 21 primary election, received the endorsement of the 9th Ward Democratic Committee, which includes Chestnut Hill and parts of Mt. Airy.

Palmer, 47, who is a family law and civil rights attorney, graduated from Rutgers Law School in 1998. After graduating from law school, she received a grant from the Equal Justice Work Fellowship that enabled her to found the first LGBT family law direct services program in the nation. In 2014, she received the Mary Philbrook Public Interest Law Service Award from her alma mater.

Currently, she is a partner and founding member of Jerner & Palmer, P .C., a Germantown law firm specializing in family law and estate planning.

As Anthony Kyriakakis campaigns for Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge, he brings the wisdom of the ancient Greeks with him.

“I was interested in the ideals of justice that were described by our ancient Greek philosophers,” says Kyriakakis, a Greek American. “I seek to serve as a judge because of those ideals of fairness and justice.”

Kyriakakis is one of 27 candidates running for judge in the May 21 primary election, but was one of only two who received the Philadelphia Bar Association’s top rating of “Highly Recommended.” The rating goes to those who “possess a reputation for utmost integrity, and significantly will enhance … the quality of the judiciary,” according to the Bar Association’s ratings criteria. Kyriakakis thinks they appreciated the experience he could bring to the job.

Kay Yu was just three-and-a-half when her mother, Yunja, brought her family from Seoul, Korea, to Seattle, Washington, in December of 1968.

“She sacrificed everything so that I could live the American Dream,” Yu says on a recent spring afternoon. “Even though she didn’t have a plan for how to feed the family, she had an entrepreneurial spirit. So she made an investment, bought an IBM Selectric, and started typing other people’s dissertations.” In time, Yunja became a secretary for the dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Washington. Life in the U.S., it seemed, had fallen into place.

Then Yu discovered the book.

“I was 10 years old and about to start middle school, when I picked up a book at home and found deportation notices for me and my entire family,” Yu says. It turns out that the family’s visas—which they’d obtained as dependents of Yu’s father, who’d come earlier in 1968 with a student visa—had run out. All that time, Yunja had been not only bearing the burden of financially supporting the family, but also the toll that the threat of deportation takes.

Voters will head to the polls on May 21 and be asked to fill nine open judicial seats.

There are races for judicial openings in Pennsylvania’s Superior Court (two seats), in Philadelphia’s Municipal Court (one seat) and in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas (six seats).

We have profiled five judges from the Jewish community (in alphabetical order, not ballot order) who responded to our request for information.

The general election will be held Nov. 5.

Voters will head to the polls on May 21 and be asked to fill nine open judicial seats.

There are races for judicial openings in Pennsylvania’s Superior Court (two seats), in Philadelphia’s Municipal Court (one seat) and in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas (six seats).

We have profiled five judges from the Jewish community (in alphabetical order, not ballot order) who responded to our request for information.

The general election will be held Nov. 5.

Voters will head to the polls on May 21 and be asked to fill nine open judicial seats.

There are races for judicial openings in Pennsylvania’s Superior Court (two seats), in Philadelphia’s Municipal Court (one seat) and in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas (six seats).

We have profiled five judges from the Jewish community (in alphabetical order, not ballot order) who responded to our request for information.

The general election will be held Nov. 5.

Voters will head to the polls on May 21 and be asked to fill nine open judicial seats.

There are races for judicial openings in Pennsylvania’s Superior Court (two seats), in Philadelphia’s Municipal Court (one seat) and in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas (six seats).

We have profiled five judges from the Jewish community (in alphabetical order, not ballot order) who responded to our request for information.

The general election will be held Nov. 5.