A historic ceremony was held at court today when Monica Coc was called to the bar. Coc is from the Toledo District and is the first Mayan woman to ever be called to the Bar. The young lawyer studied in the U.S. and qualified in Jamaica to be able to practice in the local courts. She is married and is the sister of another high profile Mayan woman, Cristina Coc of the Maya Leaders Alliance. Both Cristina and Monica spoke to the media today on her accomplishment.
Monica Coc-Magnusson, Called to the Bar
“I got my law degree at the Indiana University School of Law in Indianapolis and then I practiced for a few years in the state of North Carolina and then I went to do a six month program that qualified me to get what’s called the certificate of legal education at the Norman Manley School in Kingston Jamaica and I submitted my application to the Bar.”
Cristina Coc, Sister of Monica Coc-Magnusson
“It’s certainly a great honour for Belize to see more professionals in this field coming from southern Belize. It gives us great pride to know that Monica is from the Toledo district and comes from one of our communities. It’s certainly an honour, it’s a big step and I’m very proud of her I mean apart from being my sister. It gives me great pride to know that we have yet another young Maya woman that can lead in a field that is outstanding and that can contribute quite directly and quite meaningfully to her communities.”
“I think that it is a big step particularly for women in the Mayan community. I think it is as we all know women and girls are not necessarily the ones that are given first preference in terms of education, in terms of opportunities so I can say that am proud to be from that community and to stand here and tell my community that you can do it too.”
Monica practices criminal and family law and is keenly interested in human rights matters.