The manner in which Ryan P. Haygood examines social justice is not an approach you’d expect from a civil rights advocate of his standing.

Haygood, 41, litigated cases with the NAACPLegal Defense Fund for 13 years and now he’s president and chief executive officer of the New Jersey Institute For Social Justice, a Newark-based organization that empowers urban communities.

So, what’s with the big clock that hangs around his neck when he speaks at colleges and universities in New Jersey?

Haygood said the uncanny accessory represents time and how we grapple with serious problems such as mass incarceration, economic equality and the relationship between the criminal justice system and racial injustice in America.