Daily Record Staff//July 28, 2022
//July 28, 2022
Maryland’s first Black state public defender, Natasha Dartigue, is proud to lead the Office of the Public Defender, or OPD, “despite the scars of being the ‘first’ to break the ceiling and the challenges to come,” she said.
Dartigue is the daughter of Haitian immigrants, and in her 26-year tenure at the office has worked to ensure others have the same opportunities she does, serving as a member and president of OPD’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Council, as well as a mentor with the office’s District 1 Mentor Program since 2005.
“My appointment redefines what leadership looks like and expands the possibilities for Black and brown children,” Dartigue said. “It especially provides hope to children of immigrants, who are often overlooked and undervalued, that opportunities do exist.”
Dartigue says she is committed to improving the lives of Marylanders through changes in juvenile justice reform, the development of improved police integrity practices and reduction of employment barriers for marginalized people.
Dartigue is especially proud of her staff’s commitment to this mission. “OPD staff members profoundly understand that we cannot underestimate the value of respect, humanity and resilience during the most trying times of a client’s life,” Dartigue said. “Individuals are complex and cannot be defined by their wors[t] moments.”
As an executive mentor for Innovation Works, a resource network creating economic opportunities across the city, Dartigue supports aspiring and established social enterprise leaders as they strengthen their impact and maintain financial sustainability.