MADISON - Laurie Burnstein Mlatawou aka "DJ Laurie," mother, attorney, friend and seeker of justice, 46, died Saturday, 5/19/12, surrounded by her loving family. She fought colon cancer with her characteristic focused resolve.
She started law school at age 40. In late 2010, Laurie achieved her professional dream by becoming an Associate at Cullen, Weston, Pines & Bach, with a general practice and was building a bilingual (Spanish) department at the firm.
Born Laurie Ann Burnstein in St. Paul, MN to Larry Burnstein of St. Louis Park, MN and Nancy Loewenstein of St. Paul, now a Madison, WI resident; Laurie grew up in the Twin Cities suburb Mendota Heights.
A Celebration of Laurie's Life will take place Wednesday 5/23 at 7pm at the Goodman Community Center, 149 Waubesa St., Madison 53704. Laurie's family thanks her friends, neighbors, and colleagues for the kindness shown to Laurie and her children during her illness.
Laurie was Co-Chair of the Dane County Task Force on Racial Disparities in the Criminal Justice System, was the law clerk for Disability Rights Wisconsin, and worked as law clerk for the Hon. Margaret Vergeront of the Wisconsin Court of Appeals.
Laurie came to Madison to attend University of Wisconsin and received her BA in Psychology/Sociology, mastered Spanish during adventures in Mexico and Central America, worked at the Wisconsin State-Journal as a paste-up/photo editor, and as a Bilingual Resource Specialist for the Metro Madison School District.
In 1994, Laurie married ex-husband, Marc Mlatawou, an immigrant from Togo, West Africa, and had a family. Laurie assisted dozens of people in Madison's blossoming Togolese community, opening their home.
Becoming known as "DJ Laurie," she hosted the World Music show Pan Africa on WORT-FM for twelve years, was featured at festivals and nightclubs, and salsa dancing at the Dane Dances with life partner Gricelio Lescay Fuentes who cared for her throughout her illness.
Laurie will be laid to rest at Forest Hills Cemetery at a graveside service Monday 5/21 at 10:30am. The family will receive visitors at 1140 E. Dayton, #102, Madison on Monday 5/21 and Tuesday 5/22 at 7pm, service at 8pm. Donations to the Laurie Burnstein Mlatawou Memorial Fund are preferred in lieu of flowers. Contributions will be used to start an award/scholarship fund at University of Wisconsin Law School in Laurie's honor. Checks may be sent to UW Credit Union, 44 E Mifflin St, Madison, WI 53703 c/o Lori Eberly.
Laurie's greatest loves were her son and daughter, David, 18 and Rachel, 15 of Madison, WI. More beloved survivors include her sister, Lisa Starr Burnstein (partner Joyce Fox) of Chicago, and brother Rick Burnstein of Crystal, MN.
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