Our founding fathers promised justice for all, and I have done what I can to maintain that promise. I have chosen to participate in groups and organizations that work to protect those with the least access to resources, the least access to education, and the least access to justice.
I volunteer with Dress for Success, both assisting with “suiting” and with career development (which includes interviewing skills, resume development, and job application). The confidence that the women gain during their visits to the Dress for Success facility is inspiring. They leave with constructive tips for obtaining employment and succeeding in their new jobs, and with visibly growing self-confidence.
Prior to taking the Bench, I earned a grant to represent asylees fleeing oppression and seeking refuge on our shores. I tutored in an elementary school, meeting with youngsters whose lack of English proficiency disadvantaged them in their classrooms. I volunteered and taught with the Red Cross for over a decade, passing on what I had learned about how to protect the injured and ailing. I represented victims of domestic violence free of charge through the Wake County Volunteer Lawyers Program and Project Together. As a member of the Board of Governors of the North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers from 2002 until 2008, I took inspiration from our banner that read “[p]rotecting people’s rights.” I was a member of The Guilford Inn of Court, which meets to develop the ethical, professional, and legal skills of both bench and bar. Finally, I was very proud to be associated with the JayCees, especially for chairing the “Suits for Summit House” project, which collected business clothes for women living in a home that serves as a sentencing alternative for pregnant women and mothers convicted of nonviolent offenses
I believe that our courts are not only responsible to the people, but responsible for providing a fair and balanced playing field to the people who are at highest risk.
I deal with families in crisis, families scrambling to adjust to new schedules and demands. When the YWCA of the Greater Triangle closed its doors, an important resource for those families disappeared -- overnight -- after 110 years. While I understand that financial realities may prohibit the YWCA from reopening, the families that it served, remain. They continue to need before and after school care for their children, so that they can work. Children raising children still need the help and education that the teen parents' program was providing. Seniors still need a place to gather and a place to get a hot meal. The vigil held this evening at the YW on Hargett Street was a moving and uplifting event. And on the theory that every little bit helps, I was happy to donate some baby products and some chilren's snacks, for the former employees to use in trying to bridge the gap between the now absent programs and whatever programs grow to help fill the need. As one of the speakers mentioned, many of the families that the Y has served have already had many upheavals in their lives. This is yet another to be weathered.
This afternoon I dropped in and watched as a community came together to "spare some time . . . spare some love . . . spare some hope." The Fifth Annual SSfA Celebrity/CEO Kids Bowling Challenge was held at Sparians Bowling Boutique and Bistro. In addition to raising money to help children with ASD improve their quality of life, the event was fun. Games, bowling, Italian ice and refreshments, face-painting, even an auction, made for a lively and hopeful afternoon.