Angela Jimenez Highlights Family Traditions and the Importance of Hard Work
Holland & Knight's Diversity Council and Hispanic Affinity Group are proud to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and pay tribute to the generations of Hispanics who have enriched America's history and continue to play a role in its future success. This year, we took time to speak to some of our Hispanic attorneys, who shared their stories with us. We now present a video series showcasing some of these conversations. We hope that the stories conveyed in these videos inspire those struggling with recognizing their roots and shine light to the contributions that Hispanics have provided to the United States.
In this episode, Tysons Associate Angela Jimenez talks about growing up in a Spanish community and the difficulties she faced when looking for mentors in the legal field. Angela expresses her appreciation for the support that she received from her family and community and how this inspires her to give back to Hispanic communities. She also comments on the importance of being persistent and believing you can achieve whatever goals you set for yourself.
Angela Jimenez: Both my parents are from Dominican Republic, and they were both born and raised in Dominican Republic. My mom in particular comes from a huge family in Dominican Republic, 20 brothers and sisters. And so it's a huge family. My father and my mom both met in Dominican Republic. My father came, his sister, who was working in New York. And so she brought my father over and he went back and got my mother. And then they both came here to live.
Education was instilled in me because as when they first came, then my mother started bringing her brothers and sisters. My father, his family started coming as well, little by little. But my mother's family ended up living with us. I was living with like 13 people and then 14 people. And then it was just so much people. And so when there's so much people, there's so much dishes to wash. And so my father was like, "Well, you have two choices. You're going to either sit down here with me and read or you're going to wash the dishes." And I was like, "I'm going to read." So he would have a book for me ready to read that helps me to sort of continue the education and sort of continue reading and get in the habit of reading and like learning more English. Because with both my parents speaking Spanish, Spanish became my primary language and then I had a difficult time trying to learn English. I was at a slower pace than my peers at the time, so reading was like, it really helped. We're such a huge family. So every year I pick a day it could be a holiday. For Thanksgiving I did a "Pavo" party. Turkey is pavo in Spanish. So we did a Pavo party. And I had all the family come to this one venue and we had bachata, merengue and we had just games. Like we had a pass, there was this Dominican song that had come out. And so it was like, "Pass the egg." It was like an egg song. I don't know, if you hear it in Spanish, it was an egg song. And so I gave an actual egg and I was like, you know, in the hot potato and you turn and give it to everybody. And then whoever has the egg has to say something that their thankful for and for the family. And so that's a tradition that I have done. I started it in 2019. We didn't do it for 2020 because of COVID-19 and everything going on. And so we picked it back up for Father's Day this year. We had a great time. We had a merengue band come and we were all together and we just had a blast. For us, bachata and merengue can never. It's just like it's always going to be a party. I know as lawyers we get so many different other types of cases and coming here I work on so many different things, but at the end of the day, I always try to find a way that I can do a pro bono. I work here in the office. We have a team of Tysons attorneys who work with an organization called KIND, kids in need of defense, and it's primarily for immigration work. So we help right now a family from El Salvador. We're helping them through the immigration process. And it's two daughters. And it's just amazing to see how you can help them along the way and sort of make sure that they get all the legal support they can. And it's complex. Immigration keeps changing and there's so many different types of laws and things that it's hard to navigate. And especially if you don't know the language. You can become whoever you want to become. I mean, it's going to be harder. It's going to be a lot more hard work because this stuff doesn't come naturally to us. And especially the English you know, as a second language, it takes practice, it takes a lot of practice. But being just, you know, be consistent, be disciplined, know that you can do it, that you can become an attorney, that you can be a Hispanic attorney, because there's not many of us out there and it's hard to find mentors. I think one of the things is like I couldn't find another Hispanic mentor even though I lived in a Spanish community. None of them passed high school. I mean, it was just impossible to do so. And so finding mentors was a challenge and especially in the legal field. But there are really nice people out there that do care. I found some along the way and I still keep in contact with them and they can guide you throughout. And then you might end up with a Hispanic attorney along your way. So I would say keep trying and keep going.
More Videos in this Series
Episode 5: Angela Jimenez Highlights Family Traditions and the Importance of Hard Work (You are currently viewing Episode 5)