This week, MALDEF’s President and General Counsel, John Trasviña congratulated President-elect and Vice President-elect Barack Obama and Joseph Biden on their historic election. The Latino community played a major role in the election outcomes of key states, including Florida, Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada, and participated at historically high levels throughout the nation.
MALDEF attorneys swung into action recently to block the State of Georgia’s unlawful screening of ethnic and minority voters, both naturalized and U.S.-born citizens. On October 9, MALDEF, along with the American Civil Liberties Union Voting Rights Project, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and attorney Brian Spears, filed suit in U.S. District Court (N.D. GA.) seeking an order to stop the Secretary of State from using database matching procedures that inaccurately flag U.S. citizens as non-citizens; the matching system is used for both voter registrants and current registered voters on the rolls.
This past week, MALDEF worked closely with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and leading civil rights organizations on the Wall Street rescue legislation. While issues surrounding bank mergers and corporate failings dominated the news, the impact of the current economic crisis on the Latino community is underreported but strongly felt.
For 40 years, from litigation to legislation to leadership development, MALDEF has fought to protect and expand the right to vote. In 2008, we expect record numbers of Latinos registered and voting on Election Day. That work -- our work together -- could be jeopardized without vigorous, concerted and comprehensive efforts around the country to ensure that all Latino citizens are able to register, vote and have their vote counted.
Congress designated the middle of September to the middle of October as Hispanic Heritage Month, a time to celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of Hispanics to the United States. At MALDEF, every day is a day to protect and advance the legal rights of Latinos; to help parents guide their children’s education; and to develop public policies and strategies that shape a future when Latinos will have greater numbers and increase our presence in positions of authority in public, corporate and community life. We need your help today!
As Chair of the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA), MALDEF President and General Counsel John Trasviña has been leading efforts to ensure that our nation’s public policies meet the needs of the Latino community. Mr. Trasviña has presented the 2008 NHLA Hispanic Public Policy Agenda to both Democrats and Republicans and has led events to highlight Latino policy priorities at the political conventions in Denver and St. Paul.
This past weekend, the nation’s Hispanic attorneys recognized the leadership and dedication of two MALDEF attorneys. The Hispanic National Bar Association named MALDEF Litigation Director Cynthia Valenzuela Dixon its Advocate of the Year and Southwest Regional Counsel Nina Perales its Latina Attorney of the Year.
Last Monday, the three defendants charged with the hate crime against Luis Ramirez that resulted in his death last month in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania were ordered to stand trial as adults for their actions in a drunken, epithet-fueled attack that left the Mexican immigrant unconscious, convulsing and foaming at the mouth.
Citing "palpable injustice" a federal court found that the State of Texas is failing to overcome the language barriers faced by tens of thousands of English Language Learner (ELL) students in the State's public school secondary programs. MALDEF's victory in United States v. Texas represents the most comprehensive judicial decision concerning the civil rights of ELLs in a quarter century.
On July 12, Luis Ramirez, a 25-year-old Mexican immigrant residing in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, was beaten and stomped to death. Witnesses overheard anti-Mexican and ethnic epithets shouted by his assailants. This violent hate crime is a tragic example of the growing and virulent anti-immigrant sentiment heard and felt around the nation. We must put a stop to it.
Last week, MALDEF filed an amended complaint in a class action lawsuit against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio alleging that Arpaio’s Sheriff’s Office has engaged in a widespread practice of illegal “crime suppression sweeps” based on egregious racial profiling. The lawsuit seeks to stop Arpaio, who styles himself “America’s toughest sheriff,” and his deputies from engaging in unconstitutional searches and seizures of U.S. citizens based on their Latino heritage or appearance.
The Third Annual National Latino Congreso will be held on July 18-20 in Los Angeles. The Congreso brings together delegates from approximately 200 sponsoring entities to implement a unified Latino agenda on topics such as voter rights, immigration, the environment, education and healthcare.
Thirty years ago, the United States Supreme Court issued its opinion in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (1978). The ruling struck down a UC Davis Medical School admissions program that set aside a specified number of seats for racial minorities, while at the same time overturning the lower court's complete prohibition on the consideration of race under any circumstance.
All newsletters from January 2008 - June 2008.
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