MILWAUKEE — The Wisconsin Court of Appeals just welcomed its newest member, Judge Pedro Colon, the first Latino to sit on that bench.
“It's been a road laden with work but there's been a lot of beautiful things in between,” said Colon.
Judge Colon says his journey to the bench began early when his mother started working at Wisconsin Avenue School.
“We moved here for that purpose after my parents separated, and we were from Puerto Rico. When I arrived here, my immediate task was to learn English,” said Colon.
Judge Colon says the next years were spent learning as much as he could, going to Thomas More High School, and then spending four years studying political science at Marquette University.
“As you can tell, I haven't left a five-mile circumference of the city. And so, I took a big leap and went to Madison to law school,” said Colon.
That big leap led to Judge Colon’s first time making history.
In 1998, he was elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly, becoming the first Latino legislator in our state.
Judge Colon says representing Milwaukee’s southside for nearly 10 years showed him how much more he could do for his community on the bench.
“Policy and law are so intimately related, and that courts are really a place of service. A place where people come to litigate and dispute things that are very important to them,” said Colon.
The fact that just 45 years ago, Judge Ness Flores became Wisconsin’s first Latino judge, isn’t lost on Colon.
He says seeing that success pushes him to work even harder to encourage the next generation to get involved.
“We are part of this country and although we look slightly different, we sound a little different and we dance a little different, the reality is that we have to take responsibility in leadership so that we can bring others along not only in the Latino community, but in every community,” said Colon.