LJPUpdate: Meet Jessica Gonzalez, an LJP Trailblazer; DACA recipients can apply for professional licenses and more

Meet a #LatinaTrailblazer16 Honoree – Jessica Gonzalez of NLIRH

Jessica González-Rojas is Executive Director at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, the only national reproductive justice organization working to advance reproductive health, rights and justice for the 28 million Latinas in the U.S. She forges connections between reproductive health, gender, immigration, LGBTQ liberation, labor and Latino civil rights. Jessica is a frequent contributor to El Diario/La Prensa, the Daily Beast, and Huffington Post on pressing reproductive health issues in the Latina community. She has also been honored for her work by several outlets and organizations, including Latina Magazine as one of 2014’s “10 Most Inspiring Latina Activists” and was named one of “13 Women of Color to Watch in 2013” by the Center for American Progress.

Jessica frequently speaks about the National Latina Institute’s work at national conferences, and provides policy expertise including testimony at congressional briefings. She provided content for the groundbreaking publication, “Reproductive Justice Briefing Book: A Primer on Reproductive Justice and Social Change.” Jessica has been a leader in the community, as an elected official, and in numerous local and national organizations promoting social justice advocacy. Jessica chairs the Latina Task Force and the Health Committee on the Board of the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda and is on the Steering Committee for the NYC’s Young Women’s Initiative.

Find out more about our Trailblazers Breakfast here. Look out for the last honoree profile next week.

WHEN: Wednesday, June 8th WHERE: Yale Club of NY, 50 Vanderbilt Ave, New York, NY 10017

LatinoJustice Applauds NY Regents Permanent Adoption of Regs Allowing DACA Recipients to Obtain Professional Licenses

The NYS Board of Regents announced that it would permanently adopt proposed regulations permitting DACA recipients and other non-citizens to receive licenses in 57 professions overseen by the State Department of Education, including teaching, engineering, nursing, social work, and more. A coalition of advocacy groups led by LatinoJustice, CUNY Law School Professor Janet Calvo, and Professor Natalie Gomez-Velez, Executive Director of the CUNY Center on Latina & Latino Rights & Equality urged the board to issue such a ruling. You can read the letter here.

LJP Deputy General Counsel Jose Perez, who represented Cesar Vargas in his successful quest to obtain his NY law license, applauded the Board of Regents adoption of the legal principles cited by the court finding Vargas eligible for NY bar admission in other state professional licensing contexts.

"The Regents who oversee licensing for a wide range of professions overseen by the State Department of Education has the clear constitutional authority to determine who is eligible for licensing in NY, and can declare as they did, that lack of formal immigration status is not a bar to being licensed in these other professions." “This is an important development for equality, justice, and sound state policy toward non--‐citizens who seek to work and contribute to the support of their families and the success of NY State.”

Former Suffolk PD Sgt Sentenced in “Latino Stop and Rob Case” - Was Justice Served?

Former Suffolk County Police Sergeant Scott Greene was sentenced on May 19th to a sentence of 1-3 years, to run concurrently with the sentence imposed after his conviction for similar crimes in a prior related prosecution. Greene was facing 60 criminal charges, including 20 counts of Grand Larceny as a Hate Crime, arising from twenty separate thefts committed against Latino motorists he had illegally stopped while on patrol from July 2010 through January 2014 when he was arrested. Pursuant to a plea bargain agreement with the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, Greene pled guilty to four separate thefts from Latino motorists - three separate counts of felony Grand Larceny, and misdemeanor larceny from a fourth Latino motorist.

LatinoJustice represents 16 of the 20 complaining witnesses in a pending civil rights action against Suffolk County, and was very troubled by the Suffolk DA’s plea bargain deal instead of pursuing conviction of the multiple pending hate crime charges which sends a clear message to Latino immigrant victims of crime in Long Island that they will not be treated equally. “This sentence is a harsh reminder of the fractured relationship between Suffolk County law enforcement and the Latino community,” said Juan Cartagena, President and General Counsel, LatinoJustice PRLDEF.

“For too long Latinos in Suffolk County have been continuously victimized of racial hate crimes with no action taken by the police, who instead targeted them for their own criminal activity as well. This lenient sentence is simply endemic of the problems that Latinos in Suffolk County have had with the police department and local law enforcement. It’s time for the DOJ to step in and stop this continuous pattern of racial abuse.”

LatinoJustice Files Brief in Vital Voting Rights Case

LatinoJustice has filed an amicus brief with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals supporting a decision invalidating Texas’ voter identification law. Texas whose prior attempts to enact SB14 had been rebuffed passed SB14, known as the “strictest photo ID law in the country” after the Supreme Court’s 2013 Shelby County decision invalidating Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act’s pre-clearance requirements. Several groups including Texas NAACP, Mexican-American Legislative Conference of Texas House, and the U.S. Dept of Justice immediately brought suit. Under SB14, voters must provide a current photo identification from a very limited list before permitted to vote – a Texas concealed handgun license is acceptable, but a college identification from a public university is not!

In 2014, Texas Federal Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos found that SB 14 violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, imposes an unconstitutional impediment on the right to vote, acts as a poll tax, and was passed by the Texas legislature with the intent to discriminate. On appeal, the order was stayed, permitting Texas to implement the voter ID law for the 2014 election. The 5th Circuit last year unanimously affirmed the District Court’s finding that Texas’ strict voter id law violates Section 2, agreeing that SB14 has a racially discriminatory effect in violation of the Voting Rights Act. Texas was then granted en banc review before the full Circuit. LJP was joined on the brief by the international law firm Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP. Amici include LJP, NALEO Educational Fund, Hispanic Nat’l Bar Ass’n, Hispanic Federation, Mi Famila Voto & Voto Latino. Brief linked here

#CAPLeadership and LJP Events

  • March for Farmworkers
    Farmworkers in NY are excluded from basic protections such as the right to collective organizing, overtime pay, and a day of rest. Too many still face indignities, such as a lack of bathrooms and clean drinking water in the fields. Now is the time to demand Justice. For two weeks, we will march from Long Island to Albany, while our brothers and sisters in Western NY hold actions in solidarity. It is possible to join us for a day, a segment, the whole two weeks, or to bus in for Farmworker Albany Day on June 1st.
    When: May 15-Jun 1st Where: Across New York
    Details here
  • The HNBA Law School—Sin Límites
    The Sin Límites program is accepting applications for its Fall 2016 class through May 27, 2016. Sin Limites supports high school seniors and college students who are considering a career in the law, and will provide support throughout college while demystifying the law school application process. LSSL seeks students who: will be enrolled in college in the Fall of 2016; have a connection to New York City; and are members of groups that are traditionally under-represented in the law. LSSL encourages low-income students, students of color, and/or first generation college students to apply. For more information on how to apply, please visit the HNBA website here or contact nyhnba@gmail.com for the application
  • LSAT Prep Course -- Schedule Change; June 1st start
    Our LSAT prep course for the September 24th exam will start on Wednesday, June 1st at 6:00pm. We are offering one section that will meet mostly Monday and Wednesday evenings, with weekend diagnostic exams. Deadline to register isThursday, May 26th. Please visit our LSAT Schedule page for details. More info here.
    Deadline: May 16th Where: LatinoJustice
  • LAWbound Summer Academy, August 1—5th
    We are accepting applications for our LAWbound 2016 Summer Academy, which takes place August 1st—5th. If you are a Latin@ undergraduate student interested in pursuing a legal career, this program is for you. The application deadline is Friday, June 24, 2016. Please click here for more information about our LAWbound program and the application packet.
    Deadline: June 24th Where: LatinoJustice
  • How to Succeed in Law School Orientation Workshop
    Have you recently been accepted into law school for the Fall of 2016? Please sign up for our How To Succeed in Law School Orientation Workshop that takes place on Friday, July 22nd at Sidley Austin LLP. For more info, please contact, Sonji Patrick at spatrick@latinojustice.org.
    When: July 22nd Where: Sidley Austin LLP
  • 34th Annual Law Day
    34th Annual Law Day takes place on Saturday, October 8th, at New York Law School. Interested in meeting law school representatives from across the country (including the NY tristate area) that are interested in YOU? Mark your calendars and look for preregistration information coming in early August.
    When: October 8th Where: New York Law School

Have a suggestion for #CAPLeadership event? Tag us in a social media post on your preferred platform and use #CAPLeadership so we can share it through our networks.

Juan Opina

  • Buscando la paz en 5 mil kilómetros: De todos los visitantes a las Naciones Unidas que vienen a la UNGASS esta semana para discutir el tema de la política de drogas a nivel global nadie viene con tantas bendiciones como los integrantes de la Caravana Por la Paz, la Vida y la Justicia.

You can find the rest of Juan's columns here.

Twitter Highlight

  • So many great advocates supporting #farmworker rights! #NYC shows why we must #March4Farmworkers. #ny4farmworkers pic.twitter.com/DfDRCC5ceV
  • Tweet at us w/#LatinaJustice to recognize strong Latinas for #LatinaHistory month! 5/15-6/15 #Poderosa
  • .@DREAMerJ_D became a lawyer, now all #DACA recipients can apply for licenses. Helps immigrants fully join econ link here

Tell us about your #LatinaJustice Leader

Thank you for all your submissions so far! Still time to nominate the strong Latinas in your life! To submit a nominee just tell us why you think the Latina is a leader in roughly 100 words with a photo of the person while you use the hashtag ‪#LatinaJustice on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and tag us in the post. You can also comment here with the same information. Looking forward to your nominations!

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