Blog Written by Justice Artist Jenny Mount, Richmond California
The Book: Lady Justice, Women, the Law, and the Battle to Save America by Dahlia Lithwick was published in 2022, right at the beginning of Justice’s creation, and has been a strong influence in developing this piece's story of women working to fight for and protect our rights. Serendipity led me to hear Dahlia speak on her book tour. I contacted the University of California Berkeley library, and a generous librarian helped me research this project. After a few weeks of Zoom calls, she let me know that Dahlia was speaking at UCB in the Helen Diller Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies. This was a wonderful experience to meet my new friend the librarian, and see such an inspiring author and journalist. What impressed me immediately was her statement of the facts and not trying to vilify people but rather to raise up the women that were performing heroic acts fighting for justice. She tells the stories of ten exceptional women lawyers that fought tirelessly for others' rights. Some stories in this book made me shed tears of sadness, and other moments made my heart swell with joy and cry tears of happiness.
This book helped lead me to the heart of this project, which is that we don't have to be a judge, lawyer, or state representative to make change. All we need is to use our unique talents to help those doing the work or become leaders ourselves. Who is out there preserving or restoring someone's dignity, rights, liberty, and equality that has been overlooked by the justice system? We can support, volunteer, advocate, and promote them. This book is about a woman leading a call to action exactly like our Justice with her flaming sword overhead.
For years I have felt helpless to make any difference in our broken justice system; I vote, I protest, donate to good causes, sign petitions, and it seems all for naught. When researching and forming the story behind this project, I asked many people what the word Justice meant to them, choosing six keywords. These conversations lead to sadness and sometimes anger, but mostly frustration. I asked them again about the six words and thought about them from the perspective of hope. The result became the words on the pedestal upon which she stands upon: Rights, Integrity, Dignity, Equality, Liberty, & Hope.
(you can see our notes on the cardboard in my pic)