Hometown: Christ Church, Barbados
For attorney and mother of two Sue-Ann Robinson, defending civic rights and equal opportunity goes far beyond the courtroom – a natural approach for a defense lawyer inspired by fellow Bajan-American congresswoman (and Delta Sigma Theta sister) Shirley Chisholm. Learning about her and the civil rights movement in school, “I noticed that all the outcomes and progress was happening as a result of lawsuits filed by lawyers,” said Robinson. “I realized that the attorneys were the social engineers and helping society be better, so I wanted to do that.”
Robinson is an accomplished defense attorney and former Assistant State Attorney in the Felony Trial Unit for the 17th Judicial Circuit in Florida. With experience on both sides, Robinson saw firsthand the many issues lurking outside the courts, particularly the need for equal opportunities for the young. Robinson currently serves on the Board of Directors for Jack and Jill Children’s Center and as Governor for the 17th Judicial Circuit on the Young Lawyers Division Board of Governors for the State of Florida Bar.
In particular, “I am most proud of my work with the KAPOW (Kids and the Power of Work) mentoring program,” says Robinson. “I volunteer at Dillard Middle school with 6th graders and talk about how the things they’re learning everyday can be applied to their dream career. I gain so much from listening to them talk about their dreams.”
For no matter how many successful cases Robinson has, it is these intimate connections with the next generation that inspires her. By far her most memorable moment in court was when she was serving “as a hearing officer in Traffic Court, when the docket was complete and a defendant that I had given a pretty serious penalty to came up to the bench. He said ‘I am so proud of you and I wanted to know if I can I bring my daughters here to see you.’ He said his two school-aged daughters, and as Haitian-Americans they needed to be exposed to black women doing great things.”