Exhibit: Women Who Dared
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What She Said
  Susan Maze-Rothstein
  Diversity Activist and Lawyer
  Boston WWD Event 2002
  Born in 1956
  Leader in Diversity Committee at Driscoll School in Brookline, MA and Professor of ¿Law, Culture, and Difference¿ at Northeastern University School of Law
Biography  up to top

Susan Maze-Rothstein was born in 1956 and raised in Brookline, the daughter of a white mother and an African American father. Her father died when she was one year old, leaving her mother to single parent her and her brother. Her mother - always interested in studying what people should believe - explored different religions throughout Susan's childhood. They converted to Judaism when Susan was a teenager, attracted to the Jewish focus on creating social justice in this world. From her mother, Susan learned to question authority and the structures of society.

As a child, Susan faced discrimination both in the Egmont Street projects, where she and her family were the first residents of color, and at school, where she was dismissed as smart but an underachiever. Despite what she calls the ¿civil inattention¿ of her teachers, Susan gained admission to Cornell, where she earned a Bachelor of Science and was involved in activism around the Black Studies Department and opposing the University's investments in South Africa. She returned to Brookline to attend Boston College Law School, where she was active in the Black Law Students' Association. She is now an Administrative Law Judge at the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents and an adjunct professor at Northeastern University School of Law, where she teaches law students to address issues of difference in the law through the Law, Culture and Difference course and Community Lawyering Program.

Determined that her sons would have more positive experiences than her own in the Brookline Public Schools, Susan has been a leader in developing the Diversity Committee at the Driscoll School. The Diversity Committee works on issues such as curriculum and hiring, sponsors cross-cultural social and educational events, and serves as an umbrella organization for the many committees that represent the school's diverse community. Susan hopes that the committee, which explores how to make contact across differences and talk openly about racial and cultural tensions, will move the school community from diversity to true multiculturalism. Susan sees her multicultural background as an asset that enables her to function as a bridge person between cultures and world views and to help those around her cross barriers of difference.

Susan has two sons, ages 21 and 11. She lives in Brookline with husband, Steven Rothstein, and their younger son. Their eldest son is a junior at Tufts University and is himself contemplating a career in law.

What She Said  up to top
I do [see my activism as related to Jewish values]. It is that point of simpatico between Judaism and the African-American experience that I find so intriguing ...More 
Being African American in the United States is the experience of being the other and being outside. And being Jewish, has some simpatico with that. However, being Jewish in Brookline ...More 
My mother, in her own way, and many of the people who were active in the 60's were formative and informative for me ...More 
From [my mother] I learned a lot about the ability to question authority and to not just accept the normative structure of society generally ...More 
For me, where I start from, there's very little to lose. I can't be really more of an outcast ...More 
[My experience as a student in the Brookline Public Schools] was not one where my potentiality was part of the pedagogical focus. I never felt smart.... So during my eldest son and my younger son's passage through this same school system ...More 
One way to measure impact is when people come back and say things to you. And I've gotten a lot of positive feedback from people - former students ...More 
I think that the Driscoll [Elementary School] has been taking halting steps forward. We have been able to advance the Diversity Committee each year and ...More 
Social justice work is what I do, it is me.... Having had the experience of standard legal practice, I felt as though my soul was being deadened ...More 
I have a Paul Goodnight poster in my office. He's an African American artist and he originally did the piece for the Olympics. It's runners, and at the bottom it says, "Feet, don't fail me now." ...More 
[Both at Driscoll Elementary School and in any teaching at Northeastern University School of Law the most rewarding thing is] watching the learning happening ...More 
Especially on the issues of public schools, parents who have children in public schools who are interested in something more ...More 
Multimedia  up to top
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How to Cite This Page
For a bibliography: Jewish Women's Archive. "JWA - Women Who Dared - Biography Susan Maze-Rothstein." <http://jwa.org/exhibits/wwd/jsp/bio.jsp?personID=psmaze-rothstein>.

For a footnote: Jewish Women's Archive, "JWA - Women Who Dared - Biography Susan Maze-Rothstein," <http://jwa.org/exhibits/wwd/jsp/bio.jsp?personID=psmaze-rothstein>.