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American ‘Batak’ takes office as New Orleans judge

The Jakarta Post  Wed, September 23, 2020  


Marissa Hutabarat, a woman of Batak descent who has been elected a judge in the United States. (Courtesy of/VoA Indonesia)

Marissa Hutabarat, a United States citizen of Indonesian descent, has taken office as a judge at the First City Court in New Orleans, Louisiana, after winning the local vote.

“It’s a dream come true. This is what I’ve been wanting to do since I entered law school,” Marissa said in an interview with VOA Indonesia.

Marissa first studied psychology at the DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. Afterward, she went to the Loyola University School of Law in the same city.

“My desire is always to serve the community, to the best of my ability,” she said, proudly.

Prior to her running as a judge, she served as an associate attorney at Glago Williams, LLS, focusing on traffic incidents, medical malpractice and insurance disputes.

Marissa was supported by the Democratic Party in her run for election as a judge. Campaigning under the tagline “People’s Judge”, she won 60 percent of the vote at the local election on Aug. 15.

Marissa’s electoral victory has exposed her to the proud Indonesian diaspora, especially Batak people who share her family name, Hutabarat. She said Indonesian people, even those she did not know, had showered her with congratulations all over social media.

“All of this makes me even prouder of being an Indonesian,” she said, smiling.

Marissa was born to a Batak father and a Chinese Thai mother. She was born and raised in the United States and has never been to Indonesia. However, she still connects with her Indonesian roots through her Opung (Bataknese for grandmother), who taught her a little bit of the Batak language.

“I’m a little embarrassed that I’ve never learned the Indonesian language, but I will make that happen,” she promised. (gis/kes)

The Jakarta Post  Wed, September 23, 2020  

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