Lifestyle Viral and Trending 08 Mar 2019 Torchbearers of incl ...

Torchbearers of inclusivity

Published Mar 8, 2019, 3:26 am IST
Updated Mar 8, 2019, 3:26 am IST
Juli Matthew works towards improving the efficiency of the court system so that quick justice can be delivered to those who need it most.
Juli Matthew
 Juli Matthew

Juli Matthew: Justice for all

Juli Matthew is not only the first woman from South Asia to have a seat on the bench as a judge in Fort Bend County, she is also the Democratic Number 3 Judge of the Fort Bend County Court at Law.


A licensed attorney who served as the Associate Municipal Judge in the City of Arcola, Juli Matthew says, “I was one of the few female attorneys in court when I first started practising, but never felt the need to prove myself to anyone. I am qualified and competent, and I believe in the justice system and treating all equitably and fairly. I have over 15 years of experience in civil litigation, creditor rights, mass tort, oil and gas, probate and criminal matters in Fort Bend and surrounding counties including Harris, Montgomery, Galveston and Brazoria. Very few thought that I could break this ceiling in my county but I feel blessed to have accomplished this.”

The Kerala-born attorney says she had long cherished the dream of becoming a judge, and that opportunity came when someone from the minority community had to join the judiciary. The mother of three daughters who came to the US in the 1980s with her parents always thought that she could do better than many in the judiciary in Fort Bend because she has an unbiased outlook and no judicial legacy.

“I believe in being fair while upholding our Constitution, State and local rules,” she says proudly.

Mona Das: Senator of substance

Mona Das is proud of her Indian background, and aspires to be a role model to girls and women who may want to serve their country in the future.

An Indian American businesswoman and politician from the state of Washington, Mona Das is a member-elect to the Washington State Senate for the 47th district. Das, who took oath as a Senator with the Gita in her hand, takes great pride in her ancestry. In fact, in her election message, Das, a Democrat said, “Mahila kalyan, sabka maan! Jai hind and bharat mata ki jai.”

Mona DasMona Das

“Traditionally, there haven’t been many women of colour in American government.”

I’m proud to be a role model for little girls who might run for office in the future. I have always considered entering public service and giving back to my community. Like many Americans, I was disappointed with the outcome of the 2016 election, and I decided to do something about it,” she says.

Originally from the Munger district of Bihar, Mona moved to the United States with family when she was just eight months old. As an elected senator, she has decided to encourage girls to shatter the glass ceiling. Mona also plans to advocate for the environment, communities of colour and equality for women.

“The 2018 election year was a wonderful year for women — particularly women of colour. I think that people across the country are deciding that we need women in decision-making positions. That’s the only way we can have a fair and inclusive society. I’m hopeful that this trend will continue, and that we’ll see more women elected to office. I hope that my story and journey can inspire other women.”

Citing Pramila Jayapal as her role model, Das adds, “Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal is very inspiring — especially since she is also Indian. We have other Indian women in our state Legislature, Sen. Manka Dhingra and Rep. Vandana Slater, and I’m lucky to work with both of them.”