Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund is now LatinoJustice PRLDEF

October 6, 2008
Contact: John Garcia, Director of Communications (212) 739-7581

The Board of Directors of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund announced today that after 37 years it will change its name to LatinoJustice PRLDEF. The new brand reflects the evolving nature of the Latino community in the United States, the makeup of the organization’s clients, and the cases it undertakes.

“This is a result of a natural progression of our growth and our success over these past 37 years,” said David Arroyo, LatinoJustice PRLDEF’s Chairman of the Board. “We have been protecting the civil rights of all Latinos for many years and our new name is a more accurate reflection of the national scope and pan-Latino nature of the work we do. Our name may change, but our commitment to the Latino community -- including the Puerto Rican community -- remains just as strong as ever."

Today, the clients, the staff and the governing board are representative of the wide diversity of Latinos in our nation. Increasingly, LatinoJustice PRLDEF’s lawyers are involved in immigration cases or defending Latinos who have suffered as a result of anti-immigrant policies and laws or immigration raids.

“This name change was the result of a long process involving many,” said Cesar Perales, President and General Counsel of LatinoJustice PRLDEF and a founder of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund. “In the end it was simple; we are a Latino organization that is committed to justice for our community. No matter our roots in Latin America, our success in this nation will be based on a common struggle. We are proud to be a pan-Latino civil rights organization with national impact and our name should communicate that."

The name change came after much study and consultation with organization stakeholders, clients, funders, staff and consultants. The board of directors felt that the term Latino was more inclusive and reflective of the organization’s growth and impact. The board also concluded that honoring the legacy of the Puerto Rican roots of the organization was important: hence keeping the acronym PRLDEF in the name.

“It was important for us to continue to recognize that we were founded by Puerto Ricans in New York City and that the organization was first established to protect the rights of the largest Latino group in the 70s: Puerto Ricans,” said Ambassador Gabriel Guerra-Mondragon, immediate past Chairman of the Board. “The battle to protect the rights of Puerto Ricans at that time extended to the fight for all Latinos’ civil rights. That was our mission then and it will continue to be our mission in the future.”

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