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First woman, Latina county clerk of the Bronx wants to arouse curiosity and civic duty


While enrolled at Hostos Community College 20 years ago, Ischia Bravo participated in a program that set her on the path that led her to where she is now: the Bronx’s first Latina woman and clerk.

At the age of 18, Bravo participated in a mock Senate session in Albany during the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Caucus, where he served as a Minority Whip.

“You can serve one day as a senator. They give you a book with facts, they give you a bill, you get to debate the bill and it changes your perspective on government. He changed mine,” said Bravo, 38. “It triggered and aroused my own curiosity and now I’m here.”

Bravo became Bronx County Clerk in January after four years as Community Board 7 district manager and previous experience that includes working as chief of staff to Sen. Jose Serrano and executive director of the Bronx County Democratic Committee. She replaced Luis Diaz after he pleaded guilty in July to writing and filing a false letter in court stating that Genovese crime family associate Thomas Poli had fulfilled his community service requirements.

A lifetime appointment, the job means Bravo is not only the jury commissioner, but also the clerk of the civil and supreme courts in the Bronx or, as she put it, “the keeper of the documents.”

One of their main goals is to increase jury participation in the county, and by the end of the month there will be on-court displays with QR codes to register to be part of the jury system.

“People come to get passports, naturalization paperwork, apply to be a notary, get documents, notarial records,” Bravo said. “Create awareness around participation.”

Bronx County Clerk Ischia Bravo

Bravo says that her experience growing up in public housing in Kingsbridge Heights translates into an understanding of the people she seeks to serve and that she expects to do their civic duty.

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“I think when you live in a district that has so many needs and so many ignored needs, people lose faith in the system,” she said. “Serving on the jury is no different, I think there is a lot of restructuring to be done. There has to be the right messenger and I think I can restore that faith.”

Another Bravo goal is to make sure your people have the environment they need to get the job done.

“Investing in the infrastructure, making sure there’s fresh paint when it’s needed, making sure they have comfortable workspaces, boosting morale. We have gone through Covid where services had to go from one place to another, everything was digitized, ”he said. “It was my priority to come here to show them that new leadership means positive change.”

Bronx County Clerk Ischia Bravo

Bravo says her experience not only as a lifelong resident of the Bronx, but also as a woman and a Latina, adds to her ability to get the job done.

“They say representation matters and I couldn’t agree more,” he said. “I think someone of my background, my gender, my ability to connect with the people of this district is important. When I walk into the jury room and thank you for your participation, representation matters. When someone looks like you and sounds like you, it matters.”

Part of Bravo’s mission could include bringing programs like the one that started her in government to Bronx schools so that the next generation of potential public service workers will be interested and involved.

“Imagine me taking some kind of jury program at a high school or college,” Bravo said. “Imagine if someone felt that energy.”

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