Jadae Argro always had an interest in law. Growing up, she’d sit in front of her TV all day and watch shows like “Law and Order.” But her interest grew into a passion after she moved to Brooklyn.
There, in the predominantly African American community of Brownsville, she witnessed things that aren’t always shown on TV: disenfranchisement, a lack of opportunities, injustice.
In the first three months of 2019, Brooklyn experienced a spike in its murder rate while the rest of New York City saw a decline. By March 24, 2019, 28 homicides were committed in Brooklyn.
While 21 were committed in the borough’s 10 North precincts, many of the murders were clustered in the neighborhoods of Brownsville and East New York, according to the New York Times.
“A lot of my friends I know now are either pregnant, in jail or passed away from gun violence,” she said. “That’s what motivated me.”
Argro lived in Brownsville for three years before coming to Plattsburgh State, where she enrolled as a criminal justice major and became the first member of her family to go to college.
She later added human development and political science as minors, became involved in the Black Student Union, PSU’s National Black Law Student Association and recently began an internship as a safety ambassador for University Police.
Argro started with the NBLSA two years ago. She was the club’s historian and then its vice president before becoming the club’s president last semester.
As a UP intern, Argro works nine hours a week patrolling campus, doing ride-alongs with officers, working UP’s dispatchers desk and attending campus events.
On top of that, Argro also started her own business on campus. Using a combination of her experience at a cosmetology school and self-teaching, Argro began servicing students as an eyebrow and eyelash technician.
She started I LASSHEDndBROWED after working at Walmart 36 hours a week while also being a student.
“I was loving the checks I was getting, but I was forgetting the purpose I came to Plattsburgh overall,” Argro said.
After that semester, she decided to start something for herself and something she could make time for.
Argo sees herself going in a few different directions after graduation with a goal of becoming a lawyer. No matter where she goes in the criminal justice field, she wants to make a difference.
“I want to show them that there are people in the criminal justice field that do care about them,” she said. “Not everybody wants to just lock them up and put them in jail. I want them to have some security within the criminal justice field, especially as African Americans or even minorities overall who are targeted.”
Argro understands what the justice system is and how difficult it would be to make lasting change, but anything she does, she said, she does it with passion and a purpose.
“I know it’s a predominantly white male system,” she said. “I’m a black woman, so going against white males is going to be tough for me, but I’m never going to back down.”
Email Fernando Alba at firstname.lastname@example.org