|Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor reads to kids at Lehman College on Saturday.|
Supreme Court Justice and native Bronxite was the guest of honor Saturday afternoon during a celebration at Lehman College that marked the culmination of the Bronx Children's Museum's “Dream Big” initiative.
If you've never heard of the Bronx Children's Museum, it's because it only exists as an organization, which was founded in 2005 by then-borough president Adolfo Carrion. It was incorporated in 2008 and is slated to move into a building on Mill Pond Road near Yankee Stadium and the Gateway Mall in 2013. Current Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. has pledged $3 million for the project.
In the meantime, as part of its mission, the Children's Museum is organizing various literacy and arts-based efforts. This summer, it collaborated with BronxWorks and The Point to work with youth to produce an art exhibit, which included everything from photography to puppetry, for Saturday's event at Lehman College. The exhibit opening was highlighted by music from the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, which was accompanied by musicians from the Celia Cruz Bronx High School of Music.
“Your library card is your passport to anywhere you want to go,” Sotomayor told kids at the event. “Tell your parents Justice Sotomayor told you to pester them to take you to the library.”
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and a host of Bronx elected officials who spoke at the event held up Sotomayor's humble childhood – she grew up in a Soundview housing project – and enormous success, as an example for all the borough's youth. (The Bronx has the highest percentage of children under 14 of all the five boroughs, according to the 2000 Census.)
“Today, we also celebrate the achievements of Justice Sonia Sotomayor, a daughter of the Bronx who also dreamed big and whose success is a great example for the children of the Bronx and New York City,” Bloomberg said.
Congressman Jose E. Serrano said, “She is perhaps the best example of where hard work and determination can get you. When she was a kid, she looked out those same project windows as I did and kids today do, and through her incredible tenacity and perseverance, she now looks out the window of her Supreme Court office.”
Diaz cracked a joke in his speech, referencing another famous Bronxite. “Jennifer Lopez, we’ve got another J Lo from the Bronx — a Justice of Law and Order.”
Sesame Street's Sonia “Maria” Monzan emceed the event.