Judge Quinones and Brooklyn Women’s Bar celebrate 10 years of Read Across America events

March 15, 2023 Robert Abruzzese
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BUSHWICK — It was a little over a decade ago that Judge Joanne Quinones decided that she wanted to return to her roots. The judge was in charge of coming up with a program for the Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association so it could contribute to the local community and she decided that Read Across America was the way to do it.

Hon. Joanne Quinones began the tradition 10 years ago that is carried on today where a group of judges and lawyers spend the day at P.S. 274 in Bushwick reading to first and second graders as part of Read Across America.

On Thursday, March 2, Judge Quinones and a group of members from the Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association continued that now decade-long tradition at P.S. 274 in Bushwick.

Judge Genine Edwards regularly attends Read Across America with the Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association.
Students from P.S. 274 have a blast each year reading and spending the afternoon with Brooklyn judges and lawyers.

The group, composed of local judges and attorneys, now goes every year to the elementary school. They split into groups, read to the children, and afterward the kids get snacks, gift bags, and perform the Reader’s Oath. At least one kid called it the best day of his life.

Read Across America is an annual event that promotes reading and literacy in the United States. The event is held on March 2nd, which is the birthday of the famous children’s author, Dr. Seuss.

From left: Joseph Alvarez Dilan, Ronald Cosme, Jr., Natoya McGhie, Kemar Hermitt, Hon. Joanne Quinones, Hon. Genine Edwards, Kimberly Castro-Oliver, Betsey Jean-Jacques, and Hon. Nancy Bannon.

The National Education Association (NEA) created Read Across America in 1998 as a way to encourage children to read more books, learn about different cultures and perspectives and develop a lifelong love of reading.

During Read Across America, schools, libraries, and community centers host various events and activities to celebrate reading. These events may include reading challenges, book fairs, author visits, storytelling sessions and book discussions. The goal of the event is to promote literacy and encourage children to develop their reading skills, creativity and imagination.

Kemar Hermitt.

Read Across America has grown into a nationwide celebration of reading and is recognized by millions of people each year. The event also serves as a reminder of the importance of reading in children’s education and overall development.

Judge Quinones is a strong advocate for mentorship in the legal profession. She believes that mentorship is crucial for the development of young lawyers and has spoken publicly about the importance of mentoring and guidance in the legal profession.

Betsey Jean-Jacques.

In a 2016 interview, she stated that “mentorship is essential, especially for young attorneys starting out in the profession. Young lawyers need guidance, support and mentorship from more experienced attorneys to help them navigate the legal landscape.”

Judge Quinones has also been involved in various legal organizations and community activities throughout her career. She is the vice chair of the Brooklyn Bar Association’s Mentorship Committee, and she has also been involved with the mentorship program at the Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association.

Ronald Cosme, Jr. with the students of P.S. 274 in Bushwick.

The judge also has regular interns throughout the year through the court system. Those interns may be with her for as little as two months, but the mentorship she provides to those interns often goes on for years. Every summer, she hosts “Camp Quinones” where they are all invited back to the chambers for a luncheon.

The event is fulfilling for the judge, who gets to go back to her own elementary school each year, but also for the participants. Judge Nancy Banon has been going nearly each of the last 10 years. Betsy Jean-Jacques got her first opportunity to go this year after years of trying, but having a busy schedule.

“It is hard working in the courts to be able to find time to do this, but I’m so glad that I finally got the opportunity,” Jean-Jacques said. “It was so much fun and fulfilling to be here, to read to the children and see them have fun.”

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