El Mensajero (English)

Posted: April 18, 2014

Author inspires a local Latina

To the editor:

I was profoundly inspired by Esmeralda Santiago’s speech at the Latinas Unidas dinner. The concept of a young Boricua, one generation away from illiteracy being an acclaimed author whose books have been translated in over 50 languages proves the night’s theme is accurate, “Todo es posible.”

While she articulated the feelings of inadequacy and self doubt minorities often experience, the power in her story, was the fact that though she struggled with issues of assimilation and culture shock, through determination, she was able to become a success against all odds. This is precisely the message that our children and young adults need to hear. As a defense attorney, I often defend young people that are unaware they have options to break the cycle of poverty and incarceration, to become WHATEVER they would like to become.

Her story is my story, and the story of many women of color (and) precisely why I am running for City Court judge. Having been born and raised on the northwest side of Rochester, I didn’t know lawyers or judges growing up. I was the first in my immediate family to graduate from high school, and I was able to do so after having a baby in my senior year. Thanks to the support and encouragement of my family members and friends, I didn’t stop there … and eventually opened my own law office.

Ms. Santiago’s story, was a call to action. … (she) also reminded me of the importance of ensuring that I provide this support for another woman coming into her own. No matter how busy I am, I must lift as I climb, and ensure that I encourage and inspire other women of color to pursue their dreams, because with effort and diligence, they are within their reach.

Leticia Astacio 
Counselor and Attorney at Law



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