For the month of June, we’re celebrating Pride Month by highlighting local businesses owned by members of the LGBTQ+ community. Below you’ll meet Alba Susana Johnson, also known as Susy, owner of Alba S. Johnson Esq., based out of Florida.
The early days
Alba has been an attorney since 1988, but has been doing specialized work of “mitigation specialist” since 2008. “I thought I was going to be an international lawyer, but I interned with a civil rights lawyer and that inspired me. In the early 1990’s, I moved to NYC to help fight AIDS discrimination, particularly against women of color. I worked at the HIV Law Project, then at GMHC (Gay Men’s Health Crisis) that also represented men and women in civil rights litigation.” Alba shared when explaining her story and background.
“The legal field was predominantly male. I was also older when I went to law school, so there was that challenge, but University of Florida was a great school and I am blessed and happy to have gone there. I was not as technologically oriented as my younger classmates and I also had to work and go to school. It wasn’t easy, but I made it.”
Alba’s parents came to the U.S. from Cuba in an effort escape communism and create a path for their daughter to live a more free life. “My parents worked in factories in Illinois so that I could have a future. I overcame any challenges I faced because of their teachings and their full support of me, always.” Alba also credits her professors, classmates, and the scholarships she received that helped her along the way.
“I’ve always leaned on my mom and dad. They weren’t highly educated, but they knew my goals and they made sure I kept my focus. When I came out at age 25, my parents treated me the same as when I was married to a man. They were my pillar of strength for any challenges that came my way.”
Alba shares that she is proud to be the daughter of immigrants who came to this country with nothing but the clothes on their backs. “They taught me the value of hard work, of family, of kindness, of helping others, and of feeling proud of my roots.”
She told us she’s learned that the most rewards come from giving and that family, community, friendships, and spirituality play a major role in life’s goals. “I feel that no goal is unreachable and that all is possible.”
Powerful words to leave you with. Thank you Alba for sharing your inspiring story, and for all the work you do to help others.