The difficulties of raising a child with severe behavioral problems gave Teresita Ramos ’14, an Equal Justice Works Fellow, a personal perspective on the challenges that many immigrants face when seeking services for their children with disabilities. In a recent EJW video, Ramos tells the story of how her parenting experience motivated her to become a lawyer so she could advocate for others whose circumstances resembled her own.
Ramos is currently representing special education students in Lawrence, Massachusetts. She is providing legal services to low-income, immigrant Hispanic children with disabilities by addressing widespread denial of education rights and empowering parents to enforce their rights through culturally competent advocacy training.
In a recent interview, Ramos pointed to her experience in BC Law’s Juvenile Rights Advocacy Project (JRAP) and her mentoring relationship with Professor Francine Sherman as key reasons for her EJW placement. “Ever since the JRAP Clinic my second year, Fran has been a mentor to me,” Ramos said. “During my clinic experience, Fran Sherman and Becky Vose were great in helping me understand my strengths as a lawyer and how to improve upon my weaknesses. They also helped me understand the best lawyer in public service is the one who works within her community and has buy-in within that community.”
During the summer immediately following her JRAP experience, Ramos landed an internship at the Disability Law Center (DLC). She told the DLC’s executive director, Chris Griffin ’93, of her desire to help Hispanic communities assist children with special needs across Massachusetts, especially those in the lowest performing school districts. That conversation ultimately led her to the EJW Fellowship program.
“Once I came back to campus in the fall, Fran was one of my biggest supporters. She provided feedback on my application [to EJW], wrote a letter of recommendation, and helped prepare me for my interviews. My EJW Fellowship illustrates the importance of Fran’s Juvenile Rights Clinic and the amazing work she does preparing us for careers in juvenile rights.”