Recognition is a reminder that the people and causes that CRLA fights for are important to the rest of the society. CRLA and our Executive Director, and your friend and colleague, Mr. José Padilla will be recognized from two groups this May.
The California Latino Legislative Caucus will be honoring José at the 14th Annual Latino Spirit Awards. The Latino Caucus is made up of five State Senators and seventeen Assembly Members. The awards are a two day event from May 3 to May 4, 2015, in Sacramento that celebrates influential Latinos. The Latino Caucus selected José Padilla for his legal accomplishments and lifelong commitment to the Latino community.
READ MORE ABOUT THE CALIFORNIA LATINO LEGISLATIVE CAUCUS
On Wednesday, May 6, 2015, Jose will be speaking at the 2015 American Association of Law Schools (AALS) Clinical Conference. Jose is the keynote speaker at the conference and will discuss CRLA's work and the challenges to achieving social justice. CRLA will receive the Per Diem Award of the Clinical Legal Education Associate (CLEA) at the conference. This award is part of the Pier Diem Project, which CLEA created to acknowledge and support social justice groups. Our long history of working with law school legal clinics is why CLEA chose CRLA. Law school clinics give law students the opportunity to directly help clients while being supervised by an attorney.
The CLEA Per Diem Project asks those attending to donate an equivalent to a day's per diem, which will then be donated to CRLA to help continue our work.
CRLA partners with other civil rights organizations to file a complaint with the Justice Department requesting a federal investigation into pepper spray use in San Diego juvenile detention facilities.
“CRLA gives marginalized groups– like Juvenile offenders – a voice. Pepper spray use is often unchecked and rampant in detention facilities. We want these youth to concentrate on personal development, not self-defense against excessive force.” – Prairie Bly, Directing Attorney – Vista
Copyright Associated Press
Laura Clauson Ferree joined CRLA in 2014 and feels very fortunate to be able to work with the dedicated Marysville CRLA staff serving Yuba, Sutter, and Colusa Counties.
Laura received her law degree from the Georgetown Law Center in Washington, D.C. She graduated from the Georgetown School of Foreign Service where she majored in Latin American Studies.
Before joining CRLA, Laura helped create the Community Legal Program at the Family Resource Center of Truckee in Truckee, California. In Truckee, Laura worked on poverty law issues in a small mountain community with seasonal workers struggling to work and live in an affluent tourist town. Laura recently worked in Anchorage, Alaska for the Alaska State Human Rights Commission, helping ensure that workplaces and homes are free of unlawful discrimination.
In addition to focusing on employee rights, Laura is passionate about ensuring that all students, regardless of background, have access to quality public education and the opportunity to attend college.
When she is not working, Laura loves to read, spend time with her husband and three rescue dogs, and travel the world with her daughter.
Oxnard, CA- Pacifica High School graduating senior Melesio Juarez earned over $28,000 in college scholarships from local organizations and a deep admiration from CRLA Oxnard staff who taught him valuable business and leadership skills during his volunteer tenure.
“Melesio started volunteering with our office about a year ago, we observed a great potential and guided him as to what steps to take so he could go to college and apply for scholarships,” said Irma Avila-Espinoza CRLA Oxnard Migrant Administrative Legal Secretary. “When I watched him walk across the graduation stage, I felt very proud that CRLA played a crucial and important role to his success.”
The Oxnard Union High School District graduate immigrated to the US from Mexico when he was eleven years old. He and his family labored in the fields as migrant farmworkers working long hours for little pay.
“When I was working in the orange groves and strawberry and bell pepper fields, all I could think about was going to school and learning so that I could have a better life,” said Melesio. “My parents taught me that I have to work hard for anything I wish to have in my life, and their valuable advice keeps me on track academically and socially.”
Melesio is tri-lingual. He speaks Zapoteco, Spanish, and English fluently and is originally from Oaxaca de Juarez, Mexico. Children from migrant families like Melesio’s face many unique higher education access challenges due to seasonal vocational relocations – the effects of which are compounded by language barriers. These students are disproportionately less likely than their peers to graduate high school or go to college. Melesio is a true success story.
“Coming from an indigenous background makes Melesio’s story even more impressive and endearing,” said Monica De la Hoya, CRLA Oxnard Directing Attorney. “Coming to the US less than ten years ago meant that he had to learn Spanish and English in addition to navigating the rigors of middle and high school.”
“Volunteering at CRLA, is the best choice I have made so far in my life besides going to school. They supported and mentored me at a crucial time in my schooling. The knowledge I have gained from them has opened many doors and endless opportunities for me.” Said Melesio
In the fall of 2014 Melesio Juarez will attend California State University Northridge where he plans to pursue a degree in economics.
Mariano Alvarez (left) explains in Triqui Bajo to farmworkers the requirements that employers provide bathrooms, water, shade and brakes to workers in the field as required by law.
Mariano Alvarez, CRLA’s Indigenous Program Community Worker based in Salinas, CA, was awarded the Reconocimiento Ohtli by the Mexican Consulate in San Jose, in recognition of his work to improve the lives and defend the rights of indigenous Mexicans in the US. This is the highest honor awarded by the Mexican Government to a member of the Mexican or Mexican American community living in the United States. The award was presented on Saturday, May 3 at the Mexican Consulate in San Jose. Previous recipients have included luminaries like Dolores Huerta, Hilda Solis, Antonio Villaraigosa, Henry Cisneros, and CRLA’s Executive Director José Padilla.
Pictured From Left to Right Deborah Escobedo (Youth Law Center) Franchesca Gonzalez (CRLA), Kim McGill (FREE LA NOW), Kevin Guevara, Jesus Bonilla, Eddie Flores, Juan Pena, Gloria Gonzalez, Dayvon Williams, Joey Carmargo, Alberto Cazarez.
CRLA, along with students from FREE LA NOW and the Youth Justice Coalition provided compelling testimony at the Assembly Education Committee hearing on May 4th in support of State Assembly Member Raul Bocanegra’s Assembly Bill 2276 which seeks to remove re-enrollment obstacles facings students released from juvenile detention. Franchesca Gonzalez, CRLA Oxnard Staff Attorney, began the hearing with stories of two clients seeking a fresh start after being released from juvenile hall, but found their local school doors closed to them. She was followed by testimony from members of FREE LA NOW who spoke of their personal experiences in trying to reclaim their lives after being released, and finding no help from their local school districts. During the hearing Assemblyman Das Williams (Ventura) thanked Assemblyman Bocanegra for bringing this important bill and for inviting CRLA to provide testimony about our clients and the vital services we provide.
HELP ADVANCE THE RIGHTS OF CALIFORNIA RURAL COMMUNITIES