MALDEF Brings Latino Issues to Forefront in California Capital with "2012 Latino State of the State"

Leading Legal Civil Rights Organization Hosts Public Discussion on Key Issues Affecting Latinos

SACRAMENTO, CA – On Wednesday, March 14, 2012, MALDEF, the nation’s leading legal civil rights organization, hosted the "2012 Latino State of the State: Discussion on Law, Policy, and Civil Rights in California." The event served as a convening of leaders and experts addressing issues and policies affecting California’s Latino community.

Held at The California Museum in Sacramento, the Latino State of the State featured a cross-section of top experts and leaders on a range of issues facing the Latino community, including state revenue and the California budget, school discipline and other education-related issues, criminal justice, labor rights and immigrant rights.

Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF President and General Counsel, stated "California has a real opportunity to continue to situate itself as a golden state of fairness and opportunity, but to do so, it must solve critical issues related to budget and revenue, educational opportunity, criminal justice, and immigrants' rights and integration. Representing 38 percent of the California population, the Latino community will play a critical role in creating the future California."

Officials and Leaders Gathered for Historic Ceremony Recognizing Forced Removal of Mexican Americans During Great Depression

Permanent Monument Honoring Victims and Survivors to be Housed at LA Plaza

LOS ANGLES, CA – Today, February 26, 2012, government officials gathered alongside civil right leaders at LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes (LA Plaza) to unveil a permanent monument to acknowledge California’s role in the forced removal of 2 million Mexican Americans between 1929 and 1944. Approximately 400,000 of those displaced were California citizens or residents. The commemoration falls on the 81st anniversary of the infamous La Placita raid by government officials, who seized hundreds of Mexican American community members.

U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, who co-authored legislation in Congress, and other speakers discussed the government’s role in the repatriation/expatriation drive, which included massive raids and roundups throughout the Los Angeles area and other parts of California. Other guest speakers shared their personal stories regarding the impact of the repatriation/expatriation on themselves, their families and their communities.

MALDEF and LA Plaza joined together to plan and host this historic event. MALDEF played an integral role through litigation and legislative advocacy in securing passage of SB 670 (“Apology Act for the 1930s Mexican Repatriation Program”) by the California State Legislature.

Founded in 1968, MALDEF is the nation's leading Latino legal civil rights organization. Often described as the "law firm of the Latino community," MALDEF promotes social change through advocacy, communications, community education, and litigation in the areas of education, employment, immigrant rights, and political access. For more information on MALDEF, please visit:

Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund