October 10, 2017

RHBA Member Speaks at Local School Assembly

Local middle school holds first assembly recognizing Hispanic Heritage Month with members of the Rochester Black Bar Association and RHBA.

localschool2016On Monday, Sept. 26, the Rochester Academy Charter School’s middle school celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month during an assembly with successful members of our community.

Dean of Academics Jennifer Doyle reminded students at the start of the assembly of the many important contributions that Latinos and Latinas in our country and here in Rochester have made for us all. Doyle inspired them with a simple challenge, to “go to college, get an education, and improve your neighborhood.” Regardless of our cultural backgrounds, we all have a responsibility to better ourselves and our community around us.

The Rochester Academy Charter School (RACS) community expressed gratitude that members of the Rochester Black Bar Association could present and discuss their passion for law, their upbringing and their journey to success.

Aaron Frazier, an attorney from Harris Beach, began the presentation “Black & Latino Attorneys in Roc & Beyond” by introducing all other members of Monday’s assembly. Frazier spoke about his life as a student, growing up in the very same community as the RACS school, and the experiences that shaped him to become an attorney in commercial litigation. Frazier told the students to remain passionate and hopeful about the future because “where you start does not determine where you finish.”

Also from Harris Beach, RHBA member Luis Ormaechea, a native of Argentina, spoke about his passion for intellectual property litigation, engaging RACS students with questions about the types of symbols we see on products we like and buy. Ormaechea’s background as a biology teacher and hi interest in the growing field of genetics ultimately led him to a career in law protecting the ideas of innovators.

From the Monroe County Public Defender’s Office, the last two guests were Attorney Michael Lopez and Family Court Judge candidate Maritza Buitrago.

local-students2016Michael Lopez is an attorney in criminal law, representing people who have been arrested and cannot afford a lawyer. Lopez immediately asked the students, “Do you like to argue?” Hands shot up into the air! Lopez confessed that he was never the perfect student; however, his love of arguing led him down the path of law. With hard work and determination, each one of the RACS students “have the ability to be a lawyer,” said Lopez.

Maritza Buitrago, a native of Puerto Rico, is an attorney of family law and a candidate for Monroe County Family Court. There has never been a Hispanic judge elected to serve on Family Court in Rochester.

Buitrago spoke about her unique perspective of the courtroom, growing up as the daughter of a judge. She mentioned a tragedy of domestic violence in her community that cemented her journey for law. Like Ormaechea, Buitrago was also a teacher before attending law school. She now represents clients in domestic violence and divorce cases. Buitrago urged RACS students to pursue their goals no matter what obstacles may be in the way. “A friend told me, you’re going to fail, and I made it.”

To learn more about the school, visit the website here.