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Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association Continues `Read Across America’ Through COVID

March 7, 2022 Robert Abruzzese, Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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Court attorney Ronald Cosme.

The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly interrupted the local legal community. However, members of the Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association have not let the last two years stop them from continuing the organization’s tradition of reading to elementary school children. Last Wednesday marked the ninth consecutive year its members have attended Read Across America Day at P.S. 274 in Bushwick.

“Today is all about promoting and encouraging the love of reading in people of all ages,” said Hon. Joanne Quinones, who has spearheaded the annual trip since its inception. “This is our ninth year here! We focus on the early readers, children in kindergarten through second grade because if we can instill the love of reading in children when they are very young, they will continue to love books of all genres as they get older.”

Every year, Judge Quinones brings with her about a dozen other judges and lawyers to P.S. 274, a school she attended as a child. As part of Read Across America and a celebration of Dr. Seuss’ birthday, the BWBA members will read to about 30-50 students from kindergarten to second grade.

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“We are so thankful to Judge Quinones and all her efforts,” said Natoya McGhie, the immediate past president of the BWBA. “She returns to her elementary school every year. Not even the pandemic could stop Judge Quinones from bringing the joys of reading to the students. Last year, we dropped off the books, and goodie bags, and read to the students virtually. That truly speaks to Judge Quinones’ dedication to her community, and to mentoring our young minds.”

Members of the Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association returned to P.S. 274 in Bushwick for the ninth year for the annual Read Across America celebration that falls on Dr. Suess’ birthday. Pictured from left: Natoya McGhie, Hon. Joanne Quinones, Deborah Johnson, BWBA President Madeline Kirton, Carrie Anne Cavallo, Hon. Genine Edwards, Ronald Cosme and Marissa Ngai.
Photos courtesy of the Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association

Judge Quinones estimates that the group has read to more than 450 students so far.

“The children get so excited about our visit plus they get to ditch their uniforms today and come to school in their pajamas or their favorite costume,” Judge Quinones said. “It is quite the fashion scene. I personally start planning my outfit a year in advance.

“We try to make it a little fun-filled morning that’s all about reading,” Judge Quinones continued. “To further motivate our young readers, we offer goodie bags filled with reading treats — each student gets a book, a book marker, a pencil, a writing pad, crayons, erasers, a folder, and of course stickers.”

The tradition started nine years ago, but Judge Quinones and company did not let the pandemic slow it down. Over the last couple of years, the BWBA would drop off the books and goodies at the school first thing in the morning and then they would return to the courthouse to read to the kids virtually. This year, the event was held in person. However, the students, lawyers and judges all wore masks, and it took place in the auditorium in addition to the library.

“I look forward to this event every year, to sharing my love of reading with young students, to the support I get from my friends and colleagues who volunteer their time and their enthusiasm to join me in this effort,” Judge Quinones said. “The fact that we do this every year at the elementary school that I attended from kindergarten to fifth grade makes it all the more special to me, it brings back a wave of nostalgia.”

The Lynn Terrelonge Bridge To Diversity Award

Members of the legal community are asked to nominate people or organizations for the Lynn Terrelonge (above) Bridge to Diversity Award.
Eagle file photo

Created by the BBA Diversity Committee, the Brooklyn Bar Association has established the Lynn Terrelonge Bridge to Diversity Award that will be given out during a ceremony later this year. The BBA asks the legal community to help lift up the voices of our amazingly diverse collection of communities, and to nominate an individual or an organization working to bridge those communities to promote understanding, equity and peace.

Nomination forms are linked to the BBA’s website, but can also be obtained by emailing [email protected].

Lynn Terrelonge was the first Black president in the BBA’s history. She was installed in June 2001 and, unfortunately, passed away in February 2002 while she was still president.

The 10th Annual Hon. Theodore T. Jones, Jr., Memorial Golf Outing

The Brooklyn Bar Association will host the 10th annual Hon. Theodore T. Jones, Jr., Memorial Golf Outing at Colonia Country Club in Colonia, N.J. on Monday, May 2, 2022.

The event is played annually at the Colonia Country Club because of its proximity to Brooklyn, and it was Justice Jones’ favorite course.

This year, the BBA plans on hosting a dinner afterward and will honor a member of the legal community. Details on the honoree will be announced, however, members of the local legal community are encouraged to sign up today for the outing. Even if you do not golf, there will be a reception following the event and a shuttle bus will be available to take guests from the Kings County Supreme Court to the golf course.

Go to for more information or to sign up.

Robert Abruzzese is the former Legal Editor of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle and the current Director of Member Services at the Brooklyn Bar Association. Now as a legal columnist for the Eagle, Abruzzese writes about the BBA and the local legal community. For information about joining the Brooklyn Bar Association, you can reach him via email at [email protected].

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