Opinion: Sonia Sotomayor - An Ordinary Woman?

At El Museo she inveighed "You don't have to march in the streets…the obligation you have is to participate in making the America you want," as if organized protest was not doing just that. You kind of wish she'd just said, well that's their thing, and my thing is practicing law without political affiliation and we all have roles to play and leave it at that.

Still, this is a brave, passionate, intelligent and generous woman that we should all look up to. Her devotion to the practical activity of law and the desire for justice has allowed her to "build the bridges" she set out to, and despite her relentlessly academic way of proving her points, she does not come off as arrogant in any way. One of the more moving moments in her appearance at El Museo were her congratulations to Jenny Rivera, a CUNY Law School professor and one-time clerk for Sotomayor, recently nominated by Governor Andrew Cuomo to the New York State Court of Appeals. And, of course, she heaped praise on Antonia Pantoja, legendary founder of the Puerto Rican education advocacy group Aspira, as one of her enduring heroines.

In Sotomayor's own words, My Beloved World is the story of how an "ordinary Latina" rose to one of the highest positions in the legal profession in the U.S. But it's also the story of how even the ordinary woman carries the seed of something extraordinary, and how our country's drive to reinforce privilege and elitism is in danger of resulting in a massive waste of Boogie-Down Bronx talent.

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