Plaque honors Tampa's Poet Laureate

- The words that inspired Tampa's Poet Laureate James Tokely 10 years ago have never been far from his heart.
It's not often a celebrated poet is speechless. But a bronze plaque did it.

It was presented to Tokley and will soon be placed next to Lady Liberty outside the Edgecomb Courthouse in Tampa.

The original was severely damaged during the Republican National Convention in 2012. Hillsborough Judge Claudia Isom and her judicial assistant, Marlena McClure came up with the plan to replace it for everyone to enjoy.

"He just speaks from the heart. He talks about liberty the way it was meant to be from all of us," said McClure.

Tokley was honored and celebrated Friday by some distinguished guests like Florida Supreme Court Justice Peggy Quince.

"He has always been a hero of mine, personally, and congratulations on all that you have done," said Quince.

So we asked Tokley, what inspired the poem?

"Justice is freedom. Justice is liberty. Without justice, we cannot be free," said Tokley.

Inspiring words that are now unbreakable.

"While traditionally we say justice should be blind, justice should never be blind to injustice and that what his poem means to me," explained Judge Isom.

The plaque will be installed this fall.

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