By Sadef Ali Kully
Born in Cap-Haitien, Haiti, Jacques Léandre’s parents left the city known as the Paris of the Antilles to raise their family in New York.
Léandre’s parents, both of whom worked for Flushing General Hospital for over 25 years and were proud members of 1199 SEIU, brought Jacques up with the idea of giving. So today, as a lawyer and president of the Rosedale Jets football team as well as a former player, he has followed the example of his mother and father and learned to give back to those in his community.
“I played from ‘78-’84 wide receiver and quarterback — it gave us a real sense of pride,” Léandre said. “So when other players and I saw that the program in the ‘80s was diminishing, we decided to give back.”
The Rosedale Jets Association, which was established in 1961, became a staple for youth in southeast Queens, where families and communities came together to participate in a great American sport.
Léandre’s drive can be attributed to his parents and from years of pushing himself academically at Morehouse College in Atlanta, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Finance, and at CUNY School of Law at Queens College, where he earned a Juris Doctor degree.
As a law student, Léandre used his winter recess breaks to work for the Greater Miami Legal Services Haitian Asylum Project and for the Center for Constitutional Rights Illegal Redistricting Project in Greenwood, Miss.
Upon graduating from law school in 1997, Léandre began his legal career in criminal law with the city Department of Correction. As a legal coordinator, Léandre assisted detainees with legal research, trial preparation, post-conviction appeals and Habeas Corpus filings.
In 1999, Léandre shifted his practice to civil law and began at MFY Legal Services, where he coordinated the New Starts Initiative project, whose primary purpose was to assist low-income women with legal issues while transitioning from welfare to self-sufficiency.
Later, Léandre opened his own general law practice in Queens. The firm currently specializes in police brutality cases. But he has always had a special place for the Rosedale Jets—despite the fact that his family and culture support soccer.
“I knew my purpose very early in life,” said Leandre, who is married and has two children. “I watched my parents support our family in New York and Haiti, my friends, and their community here. And I clearly understood that I was here to help, too.”
Léandre is also a board member of the Rosedale Civic Association, vice president of United Black Golfers Association, and a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Nu Omicron Chapter.