“Justice is always there, waiting for good people to find their voice.” Preet Bharara


            I didn’t have to search too far to find this month’s monument of the matriarchy. She was almost in my backyard (my son’s backyard actually, or rather in his neighborhood). It started with a trip to Barnes & Noble (Children’s section). A lovely drawing of Lady Justice, smiling brightly on the cover of Preet Bharas’s beautiful picture book, “Justice Is: A Guide for Young Truth Seekers,” caught my eye. Then after a brief internet search, I learned out that a few black lawyers in Durham had commissioned a sculptor to create a bronzed statue of  Lady Justice. I knew I had to hop in the car and snap her photo.

            North Carolina, like many other southern states, has a complicated history with statues (Silent Sam, Robert E Lee and other Confederate heroes). Over 95% of the statutes erected over the past few centuries were that of white men. If you’ve been following the news, you’ll know that many of these statues have been toppled by protestors or removed by public opinion (PTL). To make amends, many southern states have been replacing these male statues with monuments  of women and people of color. North Carolina, especially  Durham, has been hard at work trying to right a centuries-long wrong.

            The result is Lady Justice, a 14-foot bronzed statue. Lady Justice perches proudly on her pedestal in front of black lawyer’s office. She’s blind-folded because “we’re all the same in the dark.” Lady Justice is a symbol of unity and equity. According to Wikipedia, “Lady Justice is an allegorical personation of the moral face of the judicial system.” Besides the blindfold, you can see scales, which represent the balance and weight of the evidence. Take a closer look and you’ll also notice a sword, which is said to show that justice aims to punish the unjust. Often a snake appears at the feet of Lady Justice which symbolizes that justice will prevail even in the face of negative forces. Lady Justice is rooted in mythology. Based on the Roman goddess, Themis, and the Greek goddess, Justica, she’s served the world for centuries. Truth, bravery and fairness are the cornerstones of humanity.

            Justice is multidimensional and moves in many directions: Social, restorative, environmental, educational, political and even criminal. In light of the divisiveness that’s happening today in our very divided world, the notion of justice is a bright light. My hope for the future. Right now, nobody seems to have a handle of what justice looks like, who deserves it and who should provide it. In this time of upheaval and confusion,  let’s just follow Lady Justice’s lead. Justice For All.


For more on justice, please read an excerpt from my young adult novel, A WOLF AT THE DOOR.

Summary: Gary and Amy are two high school sweethearts when their world is knocked upside down by the Vietnam War and an unwanted pregnancy. Separately, they encounter two wolves, Blind Faith and Zen, who offer to help them navigate through the underbelly of trauma. Howling ensues.


“Faith, I want you to cut out the warrior part in me,” Gary says. “I hate him. Erase him from my memory.”

“Gray, that’s never going to happen. The Samurai learn to live with the darkness. You can’t change your experiences any more than you can alter your blood type. You need to find a way to live with all parts of yourself, even the ones you don’t like.”

“Please, I can’t face anymore darkness. Tell me a story with a happy ending.”

“All stories have happy endings, even when they don’t seem so at first. But let’s move on. Today we have the next principle, Justice, to discuss.” She nuzzles Gary’s neck with her nose. “Tell me, Gray, have you ever heard of the Justice League?”

“You mean the comic book heroes that save the universe by using the cardinal virtues of humanity?”

“That’s the one. You see, the Justice League administers law and order and determines what’s right and reasonable. The Samurai are also a Just group who watch out for injustice. A warrior won’t raise his sword until provoked by the Unjust.”

“I’m afraid I’m one of the Unjust.”

“Nonsense. You were abducted by Viet Cong extremists and then forced to do things against the grain of your soul. A gun to a head makes men compliant and obedient.” 

“How can you know that the things I did aren’t just part of who I am?” 

“Because I wouldn’t be here otherwise. Only those pure of heart and full of light can summon the wolf spirit.”