Bronx Natives U.S. Associate Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Actor and Activist Kerry Wash
Kerry Washington and Justice Sonia Sotomayor answer questions from 2nd and 3rd grade students at Bronx Children's Museum's Dream Big Day at Hostos Community College Photo: Joseph Martin, Keyz 2 Life Media
January 25, 2019; Bronx, New York – Bronx Children’s Museum and Hostos Community College hosted the 10th annual Dream Big Day in the Bronx, NY. Bronx-born actor, activist and new mother Kerry Washington moderated an energetic and intimate conversation between Bronx native U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and close to 200 2nd and 3rd graders from the South Bronx. They talked about Sotomayor’s journey to become a Supreme Court Justice, as shared in her new picture book Turning Pages: My Life Story, illustrated by Lulu Delacre.
“Reading books opened the world to me. As a child, I saw possibilities that I could have never imagined without reading," said Justice Sotomayor. “Books and imagination can transport you far beyond the walls of your home or your town - to faraway lands where you can be anyone and do anything. The key to success in my life, how I became a Supreme Court Justice, is because of my love of reading. I hope that my book, Turning Pages, can help inspire more children to dream up what is possible for them."
To celebrate the publication of the Justice's new children's book in the only NYC borough still without a bookstore, Bronx Children's Museum (BxCM) brought 200 children from PS 55 Benjamin Franklin, PS 5 Port Morris and St. Anselm School to Hostos as part of the Museum’s annual Dream Big Initiative. Thanks to the Justice’s childhood friend and fellow Bronxite Donna Renella, a human resources and public relation consultant, each child received an autographed copy of Turning Pages.
“Much of my career has been about strong characters and impactful storytelling, which can inspire people – young and old – to immerse themselves in a narrative and expand what they know is possible,” said Kerry Washington. “In Turning Pages, Justice Sotomayor describes reading as a magical tool of empowerment that encouraged her to excel at home in The Bronx and also courageously venture beyond our beloved borough into the larger world. As someone who also proudly grew up in The Bronx, I both relate to and am inspired by the Justice’s journey." Washington continued, "It was my honor to share Turning Pages with the Dream Big Day students in the hopes that they too will feel inspired and uplifted by the Justice’s story. I commend Justice Sotomayor for her commitment to the very important cause of childhood literacy.”
BxCM Executive Director Carla Precht stated, "Now in its 10th year, Dream Big is our signature program. By working with Museum Educators and Teaching Artists, children learn through the arts about inspiring people who grew up in the Bronx just like them and who worked hard to accomplish their dreams."
The Museum's year-long Dream Big Initiative kicked off 2019 with today’s event at Hostos Community College where the 200 children visited a college campus, most for the very first time, and then interacted with two of the most talked-about, passionate women in the United States, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who has been a special visitor to the Dream Big summer program for 9 straight years, and Kerry Washington, who has been starring to great acclaim in the Broadway play American Son. The 2019 Dream Big program will continue with an afterschool program at PS 5 and an intensive summer arts enrichment program at a camp in the South Bronx.
Working with the schools, the Museum prepared the children to meet the Justice by giving their teachers their own copies of Turning Pages as well as an age-appropriate classroom discussion guide. In addition, the children watched a special video made by the Museum about the Justice.
Hostos Community College President David Gomez welcomed the Justice to his campus. He said, "Listening to and watching the Honorable Justice Sotomayor is an inspiration. She is one of the nation's greatest roles models, and she reminds all of us that we are never too old to learn and to give back. Her return to The Bronx to read to children is simply a grand gesture that shows how much she cares for the future of this country. I am grateful to Ms. Kerry Washington and the Justice for making this a great day for so many of us."
Hope Harley, BxCM Board President, said, “We have been dreaming big for the past 10 years! In just about a year, the Museum will open its doors and welcome visitors to our permanent home near Yankee Stadium. Our new building exhibits and educational offerings will complement our current programming, which currently reaches 15,000 children throughout the borough annually.”
Hostos President David Gómez addresses the students and introduces Kerry Washington and Justice Sotomayor. Photo: Joseph Martin, Keyz 2 Life Media