Meet Alum Gaby Betances ’14, Tenants’ Rights Coalition (TRC) Paralegal at Bronx Legal Services
Name: Gabriella Betances (Gaby)
Current Title/Employer: Tenants’ Rights Coalition (TRC) Paralegal at Bronx Legal Services
In one sentence, what does your job entail?
The TRC partners with community organizers who help organize tenants in buildings, and I provide support on “Know Your Rights” education as well as on affirmative litigation that the tenants decide to pursue.
What and unplanned events connected you to your industry and your first employer after Holy Cross?
I knew I wanted to do a service program after of Holy Cross, but the program I was interested in denied me right after finals. Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC) was a last minute application and acceptance, placing me in NYC as a Benefits & Housing Advocate at Make the Road New York (MRNY). That was my introduction to the legal field, community organizing, and the non-profit sector.
How did you learn/decide it was a good fit for you?
MRNY is a grassroots organization that combines services with in-house organizing. Not only were members empowered, but there was a strong sense of community, all of which made me feel so alive. I’m now figuring out if I want to work towards these values through law school.
What were you involved in when you were on campus?
I was an OL, RA, Passport pathfinder, Spanish tutor, tour guide, Senior interviewer for admissions, Relationship Peer Educator (RPE), Pullshapes contemporary dance group, and Office Assistant for the Theatre Department.
What was your major and how did it affect your career decisions?
I learned so much about history, culture, writing, critical thinking, and social justice through my Spanish and Latin American studies majors. I wanted to bring these skills and lenses by working with and for the community. I am also passionate about language access, and I currently work with tenants who do not necessarily understand English, legalese or both.
What are one or two skills that you developed at Holy Cross that you use in your work?
Super critical thinking and active, intentional listening