Updated: Nov 21, 2020
Have you ever had the feeling like someone is amazing without having met them?
You may or may not have heard about Esmeralda Simmons. At first glance, she may appear to be like an everyday person on the street. You may not find well-known headlines about her achievements or even recognize her if you brushed shoulders with her on the street.
However, after this explanation about why Esmeralda is so amazing, her name will always ring a bell in your heart and her accomplishments will astonish you.
Esmeralda was born in Brooklyn, NY to parents who immigrated to the United States from St. Croix in the Virgin Islands. Life for her has been a breed of two distinctly different cultures. Having grown up in a predominantly black district, as well as a predominately white district, Esmeralda experienced the different realities of being one of the first people of color that had access to private homeownership in the United States. Collectively, these experiences fuelled her desire to pursue truth, racial justice, and equality as her life’s mission.
As a Civil Right Lawyer, she has worked in the U.S. Department of Education, for a federal judge, and throughout New York state and city government. In 2014 she was named a New York State Woman of Distinction, and in 2018 she received the Haywood Burns Award from the New York State Bar Association. Call her a law-abiding iconoclast, or even a social rebel; she has every trait that qualifies her as a wonderful human being whom we have all come to love for her achievements in the social progression of the United States.
Esmeralda served as the First Deputy Commissioner at the New York State Division of Human Rights before she decided to found the Center for Law and Social Justice. Her experiences at the human rights division and the contacts she made helped her in the actualization of the goal. She engaged in the fight for equal rights for more than three decades. For approximately 34 years, Esmeralda led the fight for justice at the Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, which provides legal services to people facing voter suppression and discrimination. She announced her retirement just this year in January. Still, her voice echoes strongly even in retirement.