From cleaning lady to judge’s robe: Adriana Maria Queiróz pens book on how she overcame life’s obstacles, humble origins and became a magistrate judge



Note from BW of Brazil: These are the kind of stories are a sheer joy to add to this blog. In fact, these types of stories are the perfect example of why this blog was created in the first place. The story fits perfectly into the narrative of the message here at BW of Brazil. Given the opportunity, black Brazilian women can achieve just about anything and Brazil does itself a HUGE disservice by not giving ALL of its citizens the same access to opportunity and paths to success. Of course, recent protests against measures to do the exact opposite have been making headlines over the past few days, as black women will be the ones who suffer the most over recent, drastic policies being passed by Brazil’s government. Even so, I hope that stories such as this one and others like that of Ana Karla Nascimento, Rachel Maia or Monica Costa continue to inspire black women to “keep on keepin’ on”!


From cleaning lady to judge: Check out the story of overcoming the magistrate Adriana Maria Queiróz

Courtesy of Asmego with additional info from Amo Direito

In the debut of the campaign Juiz cidadão – Do berço à toga (Citizen Judge – From the cradle to the robe), ASMEGO brings the life trajectory of the magistrate Adriana Maria dos Santos Queiróz de Oliveira, 38. A daughter of rural workers, she worked as a cleaning lady to pay for her studies, and today is a judge in Quirinópolis, in the southern region of Goiás. “I learned that being poor, of humble origin or being black did not stop me from pursuing my dreams and that it is not requisite to achieve the position of magistrate to be financially well-off, to have this or another color or even to study in private schools,” says the judge.

“When I took office in 2011, many people came to me for tips on how to get what they wanted. There was a willingness to write a book showing that it is not easy, but it is possible. When I became tranquil in my career, I started writing to take this message and encourage people to show that it is possible to realize dreams as long as there is commitment,” she said.

Citizen Judge – From the cradle to the robe

Adriana Maria is the author of the book Dez passos para alcançar seus sonhos – A história real da ex-faxineira que se tornou juíza de Direito (Ten Steps to Reaching Your Dreams – The Real Story of the Former Housemaid Who Became a Law Judge), which was released this Saturday (29) in Goiânia, capital of the state of Goiás. In addition to fulfilling the role of magistrate, she also contributes to the local community. Recently, for example, she shared her experience at Colégio Estadual Independência de Quirinópolis (Quirinópolis Independence State College).

Adriana is head of the 1st Civil Court and of Childhood and Youth Court of Qurinópolis, a city in Goiás that came into her life by chance. Her parents left the rural area of ​​Guanambi, in the backlands of Bahia, and moved with their six children to Tupã, in the interior of São Paulo, in search of better living conditions.

The youngest of the family, Adriana realized early on the importance of the studies. During high school – all in public school – she began to feed her dream of studying Law. At the age of 18, she passed the college entrance examination at a private university, but in order to pay for her studies, she began working as a cleaning woman.


During the day, Adriana was responsible for cleaning the floor and bathrooms of the health facility. At night, she pursued her dream at the university. After six months, she was promoted and began to work in an administrative position of the hospital, which she held until she graduated in Law.

Having graduated with her bachelor’s, she began to fight to become a judge that she began to appreciate in college. Determined, she resigned from the hospital, took the hit and moved alone to the capital of São Paulo.

The money, she said, only covered rent for two months in a boarding school. The intention was to get a job to pay, besides the expenses, a preparatory course for the legal career, aiming at a public course. However, she could not get a job and the money she had started to run out, which is when she managed to obtain a scholarship to continue her studies.

A year later, after completing the preparatory course, she continued working at the location and studying on her own for seven years, including weekends and holidays. The reward, after many attempts, was the approval in the course whose position she held until then.

More knowledge

Adriana is the only one of her siblings to graduate with a higher education. Parallel to the studies for the courses, she completed five postgraduate degrees in the area of Law. But she did not stop there. Last year she entered a course of Literature.

Read the full report on the life of Judge Adriana Maria Queiróz.


“My name is Adriana Maria dos Santos Queiróz de Oliveira, Titular of the 1st Civil Court and of Childhood and Youth of the Region of Quirinópolis.

I am from a humble family, my parents were rural workers and retreaters from the hinterland of Bahia and from a young age they came across the difficulties of life. They didn’t have opportunities to study, because at that time, this was something of “people of possessions.”

In my life, I have always navigated between difficulties and challenges; I know well the weight of social exclusion and of those who live under the gaze of contempt and lack of credulity in the personal capacities we have. I always studied in public schools and I dedicated myself to the studies, always believing that through it it was possible to win.

After high school, I saw my friends dream and plan to attend higher education; college for me was something distant, outside my social reality; we lived with difficulty, food was not lacking, but we only had the basics; nevertheless, I never lacked determination and dreams, and because of them I enrolled in the vestibular (college entrance examination) even though I knew that I could not pay my tuition; at that time, there was no public college in the city and living outside was unimaginable for me, for I could not maintain myself living in another city.

I was passed the entrance examination and the challenge became how to pay the tuition. I had no job, my parents could not afford it, as such, everything would have been over if the will to win was not greater; so I searched for a job and I got one: I would be a cleaning woman in a hospital in the city, but the salary didn’t cover the monthly tuition, so it would take more. I sought the directors of the college and I spoke about my desire to continue my studies, being granted a partial scholarship of 50%! It was enough for me to be able to pay and continue my projects. And so I went to work as a cleaning woman during the day, and at night after a full day of work, I went to college and studied Law.

I concluded college with difficulties and scarce resources, but I was filled with dreams and desires in my heart; I was born with an even greater desire, I wanted to become a law judge! Many said it was impossible. How would a poor black girl one day become a Judge of Law? But I have learned that being poor, of humble origin or being black did not stop me from pursuing my dreams and that it is not a requirement to achieve the office of magistrate to be financially well-off, to have this or another color or even to study in private schools.

Destined to pursue my dreams, I moved from the interior of São Paulo to the capital and there I was able to employ myself in the Damásio de Jesus Preparatory Course for courses, obtaining a scholarship to take the preparatory course. And so I continued working during the day and studying at night.

There were many challenges: years of study and deprivation, lack of encouragement and credulity; discouragement; looks of scorn or contempt. The levels of public examinations for admission to the magistracy’s career have always been high, so it was necessary to maintain a study discipline and a lot of faith to continue on the path until the necessary moment; I have always refused to give up faced with any difficulty and I think that was a decisive factor.

After seven years of studies, I obtained approval in the course of the magistrature of the State of Goiás and on January 8, 2011 I took possession of the dreamed position of Judge of Law. Today I continue to face challenges, now with other clothes and new circumstances; the exercise of the magistracy requires the vocation of those who exercise it because only then will the mishaps that arise be overcome. The lack of structure, security, excess of work, lack of recognition or even understanding of society are boldly combated day by day by judges who embark on this divine mission, committed and aware of their role.

With each passing day I feel more fulfilled as a Judge of Law, not for eventual “status” that the career can grant but, yes, when I see tears in the eyes of the humble citizen who knocks at the door of the Judiciary seeing his case solved or when through judicial action lives and social contexts are transformed, rescuing themselves often times, the dignity already forgotten, the necessary remedy unjustly denied, the protection of the vulnerable, life, society, the elderly; All this makes me renew my dreams, my struggle, my faith, and show that everything, everything, even the most difficult moments, are worth it and continue being worth it. Thanks to God for allowing me such a great accomplishment.

I can say today that dreams have no favorites; If you feel this desire and have the dream of becoming a magistrate, fight for it! The ability to realize your dreams will depend on your ability to carry on in the struggle until you realize them; Believe it is possible and dedicate yourself; prepare yourself, have discipline for your studies, and resilience to obstacles and, above all, faith.

Finally, I take the opportunity to inform you that, in order to encourage people to pursue their ideals, I wrote a book called Dez passos para alcançar seus sonhos (Ten Steps to Achieving Your Dreams) by the Novo Século publisher that is in the release phase. In it, I seek to detail the challenges I faced in search of my dreams and the steps taken by me to overcome them and finally achieve my dream of being a magistrate.”

Source: Asmego, Amo Direito

About Marques Travae 3747 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.

1 Comment

  1. Well said!! Im applauding..Thats the kind of story that moves me, when people won’t just whine and blame ‘the universe’. Ps: blacks scream out ‘systematic, institutional racism’, but she tells in the text they awarded her with 50% off.
    The problem nowadays is that every one wants to be the ‘shit’, but they don’t wanna go through the stuff that she went.
    Then comes this stupid social justice warriors, claiming racism and oppression, pointing at every person, but have no courage to look their selves in the mirror and see the real problem.

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