Association mining

Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association continues to ‘read across America’ thanks to COVID

Deborah Johnson reads to students from PS 274.

Court attorney Ronald Cosme.

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

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

Each year, Judge Quinones brings with her a dozen other judges and lawyers to PS 274, a school she attended as a child. As part of Read Across America and a celebration of Dr. Seuss’s birthday, BWBA members will read to approximately 30 to 50 students in kindergarten through second grade.

“We are very grateful to Justice Quinones and all of her efforts,” said Natoya McGhie, outgoing BWBA president. “She goes back to her primary school every year. Even the pandemic couldn’t stop Judge Quinones from bringing the joys of reading to students. Last year, we dropped off the books and goody bags and read to students virtually. This is truly a testament to Justice Quinones’ dedication to her community and mentoring our young minds.

Members of the Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association returned to PS 274 in Bushwick for the ninth year for the annual Read Across America celebration which 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 Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association

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

“The kids are so excited about our visit and they can ditch their uniforms today and come to school in their pajamas or their favorite costume,” Judge Quinones said. “It’s quite the fashion scene. Personally, I start planning my outfit a year in advance.

“We’re trying to make it a fun little morning dedicated to reading,” Judge Quinones continued. “To further motivate our young readers, we offer gift bags full of reading treats – each student receives a book, bookmark, pencil, notepad, pencils, erasers, folder and of course stickers.”

The tradition started nine years ago, but Justice Quinones and company haven’t let the pandemic slow it down. For the past two years, the BWBA has been dropping off books and treats at school first thing in the morning, then returning to the courthouse to read to kids virtually. This year the event was held in person. However, students, lawyers, and judges all wore masks, and it was taking place in the auditorium in addition to the library.

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

Lynn Terrelonge Bridge to Diversity Award

Members of the legal community are invited to nominate individuals or organizations for Lynn Terrelonge’s Bridge to Diversity Award (above).
Photo file eagle

Created by the BBA Diversity Committee, the Brooklyn Bar Association created the Lynn Terrelonge Bridge to Diversity Award which will be presented at a ceremony later this year. The BBA is asking the legal community to help elevate the voices of our incredibly diverse collection of communities and nominate an individual or organization working to connect these communities to promote understanding, equity and peace.

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

Lynn Terrelonge was the first black president in the history of the BBA. She was installed in June 2001 and sadly passed away in February 2002 while 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, NJ on Monday, May 2, 2022.

The event is played annually at Colonia Country Club due to its proximity to Brooklyn, and it was Judge Jones’ favorite course.

This year, the BBA plans to host a dinner afterwards and will honor a member of the legal community. Details of the honoree will be announced, however, members of the local legal community are encouraged to register for the outing today. Even if you don’t golf, there will be a reception after the event and a shuttle will be available to take guests from Kings County Supreme Court to the golf course.

Visit for more information or to register.

Robert Abruzzese is the former legal editor of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle and the current director of member services for the Brooklyn Bar Association. Now as a legal columnist for the Eagle, Abruzzese writes about the BBA and the local legal community. For more information on joining the Brooklyn Bar Association, you can contact him by email at [email protected].