Building Belonging: Using Privilege for Progress

New York City Bar Association · Building Belonging: Using Privilege for Progress

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Justice Rolando Acosta shares his story of growing up in the Dominican Republic and coming to New York at 14, finding opportunities by excelling academically and on the baseball field, and choosing the law and going to work at Legal Aid as a way of paying back the help that had been given to his family.

Justice Acosta and his daughter Zila Acosta-Grimes compare notes on their upbringing and their privileges, and how they have learned to use privilege as power.

Justice Acosta remembers for us his time building the Dominican community in Washington Heights and Inwood by building up social service infrastructure like Alianza Dominicana and Community Association of Progressive Dominicans alongside other community leaders like Adriano Espaillat and Dr. Raphael Lantigua.

Justice Acosta also shares insights about the challenges of making change happen at the institutional level, delving into his own efforts to modernize the Appellate Division First Department while he was Presiding Justice.

Justice Acosta talked with the ODEIB team about the importance of representation not just in the workplace and the boardroom, but in institutions of justice and as a building block of the rule of law.

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