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‘A better world doesn’t happen – it gets made’: SCOTUS Justice Sotomayor stops in St. Louis

From left, host Don Marsh interviews Sonia Sotomayor at the Touhill Performing Arts Center.
August Jennewein | UMSL
From left, host Don Marsh interviews Sonia Sotomayor at the Touhill Performing Arts Center.

From the Bronx in New York City to Yale Law School and now the nation’s capital, Sonia Sotomayor has made a name for herself despite the obstacles she’s encountered throughout her life.

“My life hasn’t been always easy, and yet I succeeded,” Sotomayor said in a conversation with St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh.

Growing up in poverty, learning English as a second language and being diagnosed with diabetes as a child, as well as grieving the death of her father when she was 9, are just a few of those obstacles.

“These have been some difficult times, and [although] difficult times existed … I’m now a justice of the Supreme Court,” she added.

Appointed in 2009 by then-President Barack Obama, Sotomayor became the first Latina to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.

“It was more a moment for my community because they could see that if I made it, they can too,” she said.

On Tuesday, listeners heard highlights from Marsh’s interview with Sotomayor during a sold-out Sept. 6 event at the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center on the University of Missouri-St. Louis campus. The justice was in town to discuss her recent children’s books that are published in both English and Spanish: “Turning Pages: My Life Story,” a picture book, and “The Beloved World of Sonia Sotomayor,” which is an adaptation of her No. 1 New York Times-bestselling memoir.

“Kids are our future, and they are our greatest hope for a better future,” Sotomayor said. “That’s why I do what I do. That’s why these children’s books came out, because I want them to do a better job than we have.”

Listen to the full conversation:

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Alex HeuerEvie HemphillCaitlin Lally and Xandra Ellin give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.

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Caitlin Lally is thrilled to join St. Louis Public Radio as the summer production intern for "St. Louis on the Air." With a bachelor's degree in journalism from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Caitlin also freelances for area publications like Sauce Magazine and the Belleville News-Democrat. In her career, she's covered topics such as Trump's travel ban, political protests and community activism. When she's not producing audio segments or transcribing interviews, Caitlin enjoys practicing yoga, seeing live music, and cooking plant-based meals.