Denver Bar Association
October 2010
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Sotomayor’s Denver Visit Impacts Local Student

Several students from the Denver area attended an event at DU Sturm College of Law that included an exclusive visit by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. The Justice did not prepare remarks, but instead took questions from students. The audience included approximately 250 high school, college and law school students, and 200 members of the Denver Bench and Bar. CSPAN aired the entire session. View it at Below is a letter from Denver Public Schools’ Career Education Center (CEC) student Brenda Rodriguez describing this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Scott Gallegos, Brenda Rodriguez, and Miguel Román, all Denver Public Schools’ Career Education Center students, look their best as they stand outside the DU Sturm College of Law waiting to speak with Justice Sotomayor. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor visits with Scott Gallegos, a student at the Denver Public Schools’ Career Education Center, during her Q&A session hosted by the Colorado Bar Association.

My experience attending U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s discussion was more than incredible. It is beyond my human capability to profess what an honor it was to attend this event. Thanks to CEC’s criminal justice teacher Ms. Hervey and the Colorado Bar Association. The night before the program, I went online and read a brief bio of Sonia Sotomayor. The moment I stopped reading her bio it HIT ME. No, it was not just a natural normal hit. It becomes a hit where you see yourself in reality: being chosen to attend this amazing open discussion of few other chosen high school students, well, you can imagine. It was something I believe would be a "once-in-a-lifetime" opportunity. Knowing that I would attend a discussion and ask open questions to the first Latina women chosen by President Barack Obama to be a Supreme Court Justice was amazing.

When I stepped out of the van and walked into the DU Law building, I mentally, emotionally, and physically thought to myself, "What an HONOR." It was an honor to be there, as a Latina. I never imagined that I could come from a different country and be able to be at such a big event that was the focus all over the United States.

The words that Justice Sotomayor spoke were impacting and inspiring. They motivated me to become a better person and leader. The most impactful part was when she said, "Different, because I am different." She said everyone is different in some way, but it takes guts to stand out and influence the world. Another was when she said her heritage was one of the many obstacles she had to overcome. She had to overcome this by pushing herself. "I was sitting at one of my friend’s house watching TV with her family," she said. "There was a parade specifically about Puerto Ricans, and my friend’s dad said, ‘Isn’t that disgusting?’ I responded clearly, ‘Those people are my people.’ And I got up and left."

Aug. 26, 2010, was the most amazing day in my 16 years of life. Honestly, I was never expecting such a thing. This day will forever live within me and never ever be forgotten.

— Brenda Rodriquez
CEC Middle College of Denver Student

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