by Gary Axelbank
May 8, 2018
Every Monday for the past six months, representing Rising Phoenix, a non-partisan non-profit she founded, Bronx attorney and college professor Adeline Ortiz has come in to PS 55 to educate children about the law and politics.
Motivated by the 2016 Presidential Election which saw only 40% of eleigible voters turn out, she put together partnerships with other forward-thinking legal groups like the Thurgood Mashall Jr. Mock Trial program. Together they place attorneys in nine different schools who regularly work closely with youngsters to help them understand that the law is designed to help, not hurt.
“I’ve seen thousands of students who come to the college level with negative perceptions of what the law is and what it can do for them,” Ortiz said. “I want to intercept that mindset and experience and let them know that the law is here for them and while it can hurt them if they make bad decisions, it can catapult them in a positive direction when they do the right thing.”
Apprently she’s having impact, even with grade schoolers.
“I learned that they don’t just make a law just to have a law,” ten year-old 5th grader Maimouna Dukuray told thisistheBronX during a visit to her school this week. “They make a law to protect everybody in the community.”
In addition to empowering their minds with education about the law, Rising Phoenix has nurtured their growth, too.
“The way they carry themselves and the way they talk,” Principal Luis Torres said, “I could tell that someone’s working with them. They see things differently now and that’s a result of having this program here.”
For more information about Rising Pheonix: Rising Phoenix912@gmail.com, 917-702-8785