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Murals and banners honor South Bay queer women

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Rounding the corner from San Jose's Museum of Art on North First Street, lesbian retired Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge LaDoris Hazzard Cordell saw a larger than life image of herself.The tropical, purple-tipped leaves and fuchsia butterflies flying between the scales of justice with a fist at the top frame Cordell.

Her likeness stands calmly draped in a judicial robe holding a gavel. Her 2021 memoir, "Her Honor; My Life on the Bench...What Works, What's Broken, and How to Change It" (Celadon Books), rests open to a page on one of the scales.

A ribbon of rainbow piano keys flies out of the bottom of the mural."I looked up and said, 'Oh my God!'" Cordell, a 72-year-old Black lesbian, said upon seeing the mural for the first time recently. "There's significance to everything in the mural."The mural is several blocks away from the Santa Clara County Superior Court building where she sat on the bench for 20 years.Cordell, who is an artist, writer, and musician herself, marveled at how artist Elba Raquel Martinez, 40, an ally who was commissioned to paint the mural, incorporated the details of her life, including her sexuality, into the project.Cordell was the first Black Superior Court judge in Northern California and in Santa Clara County's history when she was elected in 1988.

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