To observe that something is "about time" seems redundant when it comes to opportunities that minorities and women have been denied and then finally granted. Nevertheless: It is about time an African American woman has been recommended as federal prosecutor in the Western New York region. It is an honor well earned.
Trini Ross, 54, is the profile of a smart, hardworking, deeply committed and thoroughly qualified public servant. The Buffalo native has earned the respect of her peers and politicians. Ross, whose family has given much to the community – she is the niece of the late George K. Arthur Jr., former president of the Buffalo Common Council – has been described as tough yet compassionate.
Now, with New York Sen. Charles E. Schumer as majority leader and Democratic President Joe Biden in office, Ross and two Black attorneys in other districts will be afforded a golden opportunity.
News Washington bureau chief Jerry Zremski reported about the November letter sent to New York’s two U.S. senators bearing a message from 14 Western New York defense attorneys. Orchard Park lawyer Cheryl Meyers Buth expressed sentiments shared by the signatories, including attorneys Paul J. Cambria Jr., Terrence M. Connors and Barry N. Covert about the lack of Black or minority supervisors in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Buffalo and few Black assistant U.S. attorneys throughout the district.
They suggested that Schumer, the state’s senior senator, recommend Ross as U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York. Schumer followed through, ensuring that Ross will be the first African American woman to serve as the area’s top federal prosecutor.
Ross now works as director of the Office of Investigations in the Legal Division of the National Science Foundation’s Office of Inspector General. Before that, she served for two decades as an assistant U.S. attorney in the criminal division of the prosecutor’s office in Buffalo.
Michael Battle served in the position in the early 2000s after being appointed by President George W. Bush. Ross would be the second woman to serve in that office, as Denise O’Donnell served as the region’s top prosecutor in the late 1990s. Ross would succeed James P. Kennedy, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump in 2017.
State Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes, who recommended Ross to Schumer and gathered letters of support from the legal community, said it well: “I just really think it’s time for society in general and New York in specific to acknowledge the capacities of women of color, particularly Black women.”
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