2022 Year in Review
Our 2023 membership is in effect. We welcome all court employees to join in on all the fun and community outreach we are doing. We are happy to have you participate with us as we strive to have a positive impact on the people around us. Dues for 2023 are $25 for new members and $20 for renewals. Retired employee membership dues are $15. Your membership will be good for 2023 up until the end of February 2024. Members will receive trinkets as an appreciation for joining our Society.
HIGHLIGHTS for 2022
After two years of the pandemic, we have started to get back into the swing of things. We started the year with a collection for the January Bronx fire victims, the third-worst residential fire in the United States. The Latino Court Officers Society collaborated with the Supreme Court Officers Association and the Sankofa Society to collect donations and delivered two vans full of clothing, bedding, and toiletries for the affected families.
In March, we inaugurated our new Secretary, Evelyn Portes, to the Executive Office. She is the first Dominican Officer to serve as an Executive Officer! 🇩🇴
In June, after not participating for two years, we finally marched in the Puerto Rican Day Parade, and it felt good to be back. We had our end-of-summer Family BBQ at Flushing Meadows Park in August.
In October, we had a Hispanic Heritage Mixer at the Brooklyn Bar Association with the Cervantes Society, where we raised funds and donated to the Hispanic Federation Hurricane Relief Fund, which works to serve communities in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic to provide disaster relief services to those most in need. Throughout the year, we acknowledged the promotions of many of our members.
For Thanksgiving, we fed senior citizens and the homeless in El Barrio. We collected over 200 “Letters to Santa” for the holidays and donated over 400 toys to children at the Parkwood Family Residence in Queens. This shelter helps families rebuild lives for local and migrant families. As you can see, we kept busy for 2022!
On December 15, 2022, a Special Meeting was held to amend our Constitution and Bylaws. This Special Meeting was called in light of the recent dissolution of the Cervantes Society. We passed a vote to remove “Associate Membership,” which would make The Latino Court Officers Society inclusive to all court employees. This means court employees can now join LCOS even if they are not a peace officer, and there will be no requirement to have a sponsor to join.
The Latino Court Officers Society would like to thank Second Vice President, Sergeant Rafael Nieves, for his two terms in Office. He is also a co-founder of LCOS. It was an honor and privilege to have him serve.
This year we have two candidates running for Second Vice President. LCOS co-founder, Lieutenant Erica Prosper, and Financial Secretary, Senior Court Clerk Ishaira Garcia. The Elections will be held online via Election Buddy from March 1 to March 30. We encourage our members to vote—more details on the Election to follow.
The ability of our members to volunteer their free time is not only welcome but crucial in helping LCOS achieve our mission. LCOS recognizes our volunteers and will furnish a letter as proof of their involvement, especially for our youth volunteers who can present such to their school for extra credit. If you have any suggestions for new projects or would like to volunteer, please email us and ask how you can get involved firstname.lastname@example.org.
The website has been updated to show our members list, including the date each member has joined. Visit our website to see your membership status and for information on events, outreach, and news. Check out our link to shop in our online store and donate to special causes. We appreciate all the support given to us.
Our Objective for 2023
The Latino Court Officers Society is committed to fostering the professional development of our members this year. We are currently giving a Surrogate’s Clerk Exam Review Course and have over 370 registered. We thank LCOS member Court Clerk Specialist William Hernandez for volunteering his free time to give this course.
We look forward to helping our members grow by providing courses focusing on upcoming exams and interviewing skills. We encourage our members to participate in helping with their advancement in their careers.
We are excited to announce that we now have a newsletter called “La Fuerza” that will issue quarterly. We hope everyone will enjoy this new way of informing everyone of the Latino Court Officers Society’s news. As always, we will also continue building community relationships through service and donations.
We appreciate everyone’s support and look forward to having a safe and healthy year as we continue to pursue our mission with ORGULLO, FUERZA, Y UNIDAD!
Latino Court Officers Society, Inc.
New York State Unified Court System
OFFICE OF DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION
Newsletter • October 2022 • Issue 4
Employee Resource Groups
(ERGs) are groups of employees who join together in their workplace, based on a common characteristic like ethnicity, gender, age, religious affiliation, etc. Also referred to as fraternal or affinity organizations, ERGs provide support for their members and work to enhance career development and professional networking in the workplace. The Office of Diversity & Inclusion works closely with many of these groups, and maintains a list of UCS-ERGs on the ODI website.
Meet the NYS Courts Latino Court Officers Society
By Capt. Charles Hollon
UCS Dept. of Public Safety
It didn’t take long to “hear” pride.
While it might not be an everyday experience to hear pride in someone’s voice, it doesn’t take long to realize when you are speaking with Lieutenant Jessica Hernandez, that you are hearing the passion of pride in every word, particularly when she is talking about the Latino Court Officers Society.
The Latino Court Officers Society (LCOS) was co-founded in 2017 by Court Officer Anthony Vazquez, Sergeant Rafael Nieves, Lieutenant Erica Prosper, and Lieutenant Hernandez, with the motto of “pride, strength and unity.” The organization was born out of the devastation that Hurricane Maria caused to the island of Puerto Rico.
“We felt that we had to do something. It’s all about giving back to the community,” said Hernandez of these relief efforts. The small group of court officers worked with the FDNY Hispanic Society and U.S. Coast Guard, and with American Airlines (through a family member who worked there), to pull together resources to help the people of Puerto Rico. In 2017, LCOS and its partners collected and contributed water, canned food, diapers, formula, and hygiene products.
“I remember we had all of these hundred-pound bags of items,” Hernandez added with a smile, “including 1000 pounds of toys for the children of Puerto Rico.”
Members of LCOS with boxes of items they collected for relief efforts in Puerto Rico, following Hurricane Maria in 2017.
Fast forward to 2022, and Lt. Hernandez is now President of LCOS, which boasts more than 200 members, comprised of officers, court clerks and court assistants.
“We welcome anyone,” she said. “From Albany to Staten Island, the location where you work doesn’t matter. Anyone in the court system can join, and there is of course more room for growth. This group is all about helping, not only Latinos, but anyone who is in need.”
Since Hurricane Maria, LCOS has held several successful fundraisers to facilitate its efforts, which include fulfilling requests in “Letters to Santa” from children in need, who might not have gifts to open on Christmas morning. In addition, the group conducts clothing drives and food collection for the needy.
LCOS participates in “Letters to Santa” each year, donating toys to children in need.
The Society members are also proud and appreciative of their culture. “From salsa music to BBQs, we enjoy each other, so of course we have to have food and our love of music involved in just about everything,” said Hernandez with a smile. “We have also sponsored Coquito Classes and a prom dress giveaway. And in the dark days of the pandemic, the Society was faced with a daunting task – Officer Anibal Ortiz was very sick with COVID, and had complications that resulted in the loss of his left arm. We were all heartbroken, but that would not stop what we needed to do.” By collaborating with FOCO – the Fraternal Order of Court Officers – LCOS helped to raise over $46,000 to help Officer Ortiz. The fundraiser was held virtually, and donations were collected online. These funds helped with medical expenses, co-payments, and his much-needed prosthetic arm.
Mentoring and professional development has also become an important part of what the Society does. “For many, going on interviews can be a nerve-racking experience,” said Hernandez. “We offer guidance for our members when they go for that next job or promotion. I would not turn away anyone if they came to LCOS for assistance. That’s not what we represent as a community or as an officer in the New York State Court System.”
The Latino Court Officers Society marching in the Puerto Rican Day Parade (2018)
As Hispanic Heritage Month concludes, Hernandez hopes that the Latino Court Officers Society continues to grow in members, and that they will continue to bring smiles to those in need. On October 6, 2022, LCOS partnered with the Cervantes Society and hosted a Hispanic Heritage Celebration Mixer, their first in-person event since the pandemic. It was a fun evening with food, refreshments, coquito, entertainment, and dancing. At this event, a fundraiser was held for Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, affected by Hurricane Fiona. A total of $2,272 in donations was collected for the Hispanic Federation Hurricane Relief Fund, which is working to serve Latino communities and provide relief services to those most in need.
“We represent not only our community and our heritage,” said Hernandez. “That’s important, but it’s also important that when people come into court, they can see officers and other staff who look like them, who sound like them, and who represent the same communities that they come from.”
25 Beaver Street, New York, NY 10004
Phone: (212) 428-2540 • Fax: (212) 428-2545
The Latino Court Officers Society is a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit, Charitable Organization.
The objective of this Fraternal Organization is to unite all employees of the Unified Court System into a society dedicated to the mutual development and common interests of its members by perpetuating the ideals of fellowship, service, professionalism, and integrity amongst its members. This society will pursue the advancement of employees within the Unified Court System. The Latino Court Officers Society will make the commitment to labor within our communities and give back to those in need.