By Maibe Gonzalez Fuentes, FI2W Contributor
The Latino community of Chelsea, Mass. had twice the reason to celebrate when Judge Sonia Sotomayor was appointed to the Supreme Court. They had recently pushed for and gained the appointment of their own “wise Latina” for the local criminal and civil court.
Last month, Gov. Deval Patrick named Bronx-born judge Diana Maldonado First Justice of the Chelsea District Court.
The judge and Justice Sotomayor share a similar history. Maldonado, who is 50, was born to Puerto Rican parents and raised in the Bronx. The youngest of ten siblings, she attended Bronx public schools, and Stony Brook University (a New York State college), before attending Northeastern University law school. After graduating, she worked for Neighborhood Defender Services in Harlem, New York, leaving in 1993 to become the first Latina appointed to the Massachusetts Federal Defenders Office.
Comparison between Maldonado and Sotomayor seem inevitable these days. “I received a congratulations card with the acronym TOWL. I had to ask the sender what it meant, and the person said: The Other Wise Latina,” Maldonado said in a phone interview with Feet in 2 Worlds.