Saturday, 6 June 2015

My American Adventure: Friday in Jamaica, Queens pt 2

I walked around the area and the houses and streets reminded me of the film, The Color Purple.

The area is predominantly black and Hispanic and most senior residents own there home. There were flowers and cards on lamp posts were young men had died.

I've never seen so many churches on just one street as I did in this area. I was stood outside one and across the road there was another church in front of me. At the corner of my eye I could see another one on my right. When I turned right into another street there were two more churches 3 minutes walk from each other. Just in this area they were around 9 churches, some Baptist, other Pentecostal and Methodist.

When I walked back to the venue, the others had arrived. I had never met the people I was going to work with today so I was looking forward to meeting them. The interesting things was none of us originated from the US. Hua is from Hong Kong and moved here 3 years ago to go to Law School. Elliott was born in Puerto Rico but moved to The Bronx when he  6 years old and Jessica is originally from Peru but was raised in the US.

They were others from the Middle East and somewhere else but they didn't interact with me so I never got chance to find out anything about them. Aaron, the supervising attorney was really cool and helpful.

Hua and Jessica recently passed the New York State Bar and are waiting to be admitted as attorneys. They were so helpful, giving me tips and advice about the Bar exam and what to expect.

Both changed careers and left their comfort zone and all they knew for a legal career in New York. Jessica had been working as a legal secretary for a number of years and at the age of 37 decided she wanted to be an attorney. I was particularly interested in her story and I was reminded that it's never too late to achieve your dreams and change professions if that's what you want. She inspired me and she went on to tell me that her husband who has been an auditor for many years is now doing nursing training as he wants to switch careers into something more fulfilling for him.
I got on pretty well with Jessica, Elliott, Hua and Aaron and we spent some time talking about ourselves, backgrounds and what brought us to New York.

In total, I saw 3 clients. All had different needs from family and domestic violence, to housing foreclosure issues that they needed legal assistance with.
The training prior to starting the work was very informative and direct and helped me when performing the client intakes.

I really love what I do and I am passionate about justice, people knowing their rights and taking advantage of and having access to entitlements they not even be aware of.
By 2pm it was quiet and we didn't have any more clients booked in so we left early. 

To be continued...

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