DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — After a deadly start to 2019 in Durham, North Carolina Chief District Court Judge Pat Evans is stepping off the bench and hitting the streets with the community demanding the violence stops.

Evans is also a mother and that alone is why she’s fighting so hard for a better tomorrow in her community.

When Evans walks into her courtroom, it’s all about finding justice.

She tells CBS 17’s Derrick Lewis she wishes that didn’t include sending several black men to the Durham County jail.

“It’s hard,” she said. “Because you’re still human even though I’m sitting there in my robe doing what I ran to do, which was administer justice.” 

This week three people died in Durham to gun violence. The judge is pleading for change.

“Stop the violence because our community can’t take anymore,” she said. “We are bursting at the seams.”

CBS 17 has learned 424 people are currently behind bars in the Durham County jail. The sheriff office said 326 of them are black.

When Evans sees those numbers, she doesn’t point fingers. Instead, she believes everyone in the community has to come together to help.

“We are one people,” she said. “As long as we keep allowing ourselves to be divided, we are never going to address this issue, which is a crisis in our community.”

From parents to the police chief, from educators to the economy, Evans told CBS 17 it all plays a major role in keeping youths out of her courtroom. 

“It starts with our children. We have to give our children hope — that’s what’s going to do it.” 
Evans said.

She said those who want to make a difference can start in Durham, and that is what she’s doing.