News and Events: Gala Honoree Profile, Right To Be Counted and more

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News and Events


Civil Rights Groups File Supreme Court Brief Underscoring Equal Protection in “One Person, One Vote” Case

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, together with LatinoJustice PRLDEF and five other civil rights groups, filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court case of Evenwel v. Abbott, a case which seeks to challenge the “one person, one vote” principle that legislative districts should be based on the total number of people who live within them. A decision in favor of the Evenwel Appellants’ proposals would result in a lack of representation for countless individuals, and would disproportionately exclude people of color, immigrants, people with disabilities and youth from the groups of people who "count" in legislative redistricting.

The brief examines the potential discriminatory effect that Evenwel Appellants' proposals would have on communities of color, youth, immigrant communities, people with disabilities and other underrepresented people. A ruling in favor of the challengers would forfeit the right of millions of people, including an estimated 55 percent of the entire Latina/o population in the U.S. to be represented in our political system at all.

Attorneys with the firm of Goodwin Proctor LLP served as counsel of record for the brief, and LatinoJustice PRLDEF conducted in-depth research and analysis of 2013 U.S. Census American Community Survey demographic data, which revealed the discriminatory impact that the widespread use of citizen voting age population in state legislative apportionment could have on Latina/o communities and communities of color. For a detailed list of civil rights co-counsel, please click here.

Click here to download a PDF of the brief.


Examining Human Rights Abuses in Mexico and Central America

This past weekend, the International Tribunal of Conscience for People in Movement was held for the first time in the United States to examine the pervasive human rights crisis in Mexico and Central America, including the widespread levels of corruption, complicity and violence against human rights defenders, journalists, indigenous communities, women, students and rural workers. As a part of the prosecution team, LatinoJustice Associate Counsel Natasha Bannan presented an indictment with charges of gender-based violence, including femicide, rape and sexual assault as tactics of organized and authorized crime.

Rape has been recognized both as a form of torture and as a weapon of war under international law. The Tribunal - convened by a jury of lawyers, former judges and advocates from across the country and Mexico - heard first-hand testimony from victims of displacement, violence and forced migration in Mexico as well as from immigrants experiencing secondary displacement as a result of gentrification in New York City.

The Tribunal took place over the one-year anniversary of the disappearance of 43 student-teachers in Ayotzinapa, Mexico and during the convening of the U.N. General Assembly. At the end of the Tribunal, the jury issued a preliminary verdict, and will be releasing a final verdict which will be submitted to appropriate United Nations human rights bodies when they next review Mexico’s compliance with its treaty obligations. You can read the indictment here


Advocating for Same Sex Rights in Latin America

LatinoJustice PRLDEF recently joined with other international human rights groups from throughout Latin America in submitting an amicus brief to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in the case of Angel Alberto Duque v. Colombia, which concerns the denial of survivor pension benefits to same-sex couples because of their sexual orientation and gender. The amicus addresses the principles of non-discrimination and equality as enshrined in the American Convention on Human Rights, and argues that the right to equal treatment under the law without discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity incorporates the right to the pension of same-sex partners.

The Court has previously held that non-discrimination includes a prohibition on discrimination against individuals based on sexual orientation, and the brief asks the Court to apply that principle to the ability of same-sex partners to receive their partners’ pension. The brief was filed by the International Human Rights Clinic at Santa Clara University School of Law. You can read the amicus brief in English here and Spanish here


LatinoJustice Honored by LI HBA

On Friday LatinoJustice was honored by the Long Island Hispanic Bar Association during their 14th Annual Scholarship Gala. We are grateful to Frank Torres, President of the Long Island Hispanic Bar, and all the other members of LIHBA for this award.

You can find out more about the Long Island Hispanic Bar Association by clicking here


Junot Diaz: 2015 Community Champion

Born in the Dominican Republic and raised in New Jersey, Junot Díaz is the author of Drown, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award; and This is How You Lose Her, a New York Times bestseller and National Book Award finalist. He is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, PEN/Malamud Award, Dayton Literary Peace Prize, Guggenheim Fellowship and PEN/O. Henry Award. A graduate of Rutgers College, Díaz is the fiction editor at Boston Review and a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Junot Diaz will receive the Community Champion Award at the 2015 Gala. You can find out more about the gala here and purchase tickets here.


LatinoJustice PRLDEF Annual Awards Gala Save the Date

Join us as for the LatinoJustice PRLDEF Annual Awards Gala, November 10, 2015, at the Grand Hyatt New York.

This year we are honoring:

  • LUCERO: Pilar S. Ramos, General Counsel-North America, MasterCard International
  • CORPORATE LEADER: Comcast Corporation
  • CAP LEADER: Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton LLP
  • COMMUNITY CHAMPION: Junot Diaz, Pulitzer-prize winning author, MacArthur Fellow and Co-founder, Voices of Our Nation Workshop.

Click here for tickets and sponsorship information.

If you are an artist or crafter and want to participate in the Gala Silent Auction and Mercado, please contact ldiaz@latinojustice.org.

Questions? Contact dmedina@latinojustice.org.


Join us for Law Day and Enter our Prize Raffle

Our 33rd Annual Law Day will take place on October 24th at Pace University’s downtown NYC campus. So far, we have over 75 law schools and new students registering every day. This is a chance for you to meet reps from your top schools and ask about application fee waivers.

Look out for our Law Day 2015 social media blitz starting in the coming days. Help us by retweeting, re-posting and re-sharing Law Day news on all social media platforms using #lawday15. When you register on-line to attend you should also post on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter “what you hope to learn at Law Day 2015” if you want to be entered in our pre-event raffle. If you post your answer with #LawDay15 and mention @LatinoJustice then you are eligible to win. The raffle prize will be awarded at the event during the morning program. At Law Day, we will tell you how you can also enter to win a free LSAT Prep Course. We hope you will join us on October 24th!

The event will be held at Pace University, 1 Pace Plaza, New York, NY 10038 from 10am to 4pm on October 24th. You can find more information about the event here. Students can also register here.


Meet the #LJPFamilia: Emmanuel Arnaud, Legal Intern, Cornell Law School

Emmanuel (Manny) Arnaud is a rising 3L at Cornell Law School where he has been on the Dean’s List, and is the Notes Editor on the Cornell Law Review. He has a forthcoming Note to be published in the Cornell Law Review 2016 entitled “The Dismantling of Dissent: Militarization and the Right to Peaceably Assemble”. He served as President of Cornell LALSA during his 2L year. He was a summer associate at Paul Weiss in their litigation department where he researched and drafted memorandums of law on a wide variety of issues including conflicts of law, evidence, discovery, and foreign sovereign immunity while also participating in some pro bono prisoner’s rights litigation. He spent his 1L summer at the Bronx Defenders criminal practice.

During Fall 2014 he worked as a research assistant researching labor & employment issues, conducted client interviews, and drafted rebuttals to opposing party’s responses to labor law complaints, and translated documents into Spanish. Manny received his B.A. in 20th Century U.S. History from Columbia University in 2013.

His college thesis “Claiming Citizenship: The Chronicle of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund 1972-1990” emanated from his undergrad internship at LJP in 2011-12 where he researched PRLDEF’s litigation history for our 40th Anniversary. During college, Manny also served as an Electoral Engagement Fellow at the NALEO Northeast Regional Office; as an intern with the Brennan Center National Security and Justice Program researching criminal justice debt, prison conditions, national security and other issues. Manny is fluent in Spanish.


Twitter Roundup

  • We joined #CivilRights groups calling on #SCOTUS to defend "one-person, one-vote" doctrine. You can read the press release here
  • #PopeInNYC. @julito77 explains why #PopeInUS is just in time for Latinos. @latinorebels
  • Puerto Rico faces its worst economic crisis in a century. Sign petition to call on @POTUS action on #PuertoRico. Sign the petition here

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