Rural Justice Updates

Deputy Director Interview

CRLA’s Deputy Marcela Ruiz, was interviewed on Comunidad De Valle with Damian Trujillo to discuss CRLA’s work. Thank you to Mr. Trujillo and the rest of the staff of NBC Bay Area for their generosity and spreading the awareness of the issues facing rural California!

Watch the interview here>>

El Centro Open House!

CRLA's El Centro office hosted their open house this month. The office had been under reconstruction for months while much needed upgrades were made to the facility. The upgraded facility will allow us to better serve one of the most vulnerable regions in all of California.

See images of the open house here >>image #2 image #3 image #4 image #5 image #6

Facility Center for Farmworkers!

Over 15 years ago Jose Saldivar came to our Coachella office to stand up against housing practices that discriminated against farmworkers in the Eastern Coachella Valley. CRLA joined him in that fight. The victory in this case brought over 20 million dollars of investments in public housing projects, access to government services, and a facility center for farmworkers! It has been a long road but the facility opened in Mecca, California this month! 

See images from the dedication ceremony here >>image #2 image #3 image #4 image #5 image #6 image #7

CRLA's Justice Partner

CRLA’s largest funder, Legal Services Corporation (LSC), honored our partner Villegas Carrera for their years of pro bono service. Villegas Carrera has partnered with CRLA and brought justice to thousands of rural Californians. We thank Villegas Carrera and all of our pro bono partners!  

See images here >>image #2 image #3 image #4 image #5 image #6

Deputy Director Dan Torres appointed
California’s Chief of the Immigration Branch

CRLA Deputy Director Dan Torres was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown to be California’s Chief of the Immigration Branch in the Department of Social Services. Dan has been instrumental in elevating CRLA’s multiple programs and initiatives into national advocacy models. “We will miss working with Dan…but we know we have a life-long friend committed to improving the lives of vulnerable communities in California,” said Deputy Director Marcela Ruiz.

Learn More >>


CRLA’s Estella Cisneros recognized by
The Huffington Post

The Huffington Post recognized CRLA’s Estella Cisneros for changing the food industry with her exemplary advocacy with the farmworker community. Cisneros, a graduate of Yale Law School, is the daughter of Mexican farmworkers who immigrated to the United States. At Stanford University, she realized that she “was being called to serve the very community [she] had grown up in.” Cisneros now provides legal representation for immigrant farmworkers in the California dairy industry and is a Skadden Foundation Fellow at California Rural Legal Assistance.

Learn More >>


The Tale of the End of the Short-Handled Hoe

Listent to CRLA Salinas Community Worker Hector de la Rosa and CRLA alumni and current volunteer, Mo Jourdane, discuss how he and CRLA ended the use of the short hoe in the 1970s, a victory that improved the lives of farmworkers then and now.

The Long Tale of the Short-Handled Hoe

Take a look back at a historic battle over workers’ rights in California. It all started in “the salad bowl of the world” – aka Salinas Valley – and the fight was over a simple tool: the short-handled hoe.

Learn More >>


CRLA’s Education Program

CRLA’s staff works tirelessly to breakdown the educational barriers that exist in California. All California students have a legal right to receive a good education and set them on a path to end the poverty in their community. Recently we have achieved some results that are great victories for our educational advocacy. We are thrilled to share the stories of these cases with you.

A student in the Imperial Valley had been physically and mentally bullied by his peers for three years while in middle school. The student and his parents complained to the school. The school did nothing other than offering to move him out of the only bilingual education classroom available at the school. The student suffered for several years without intervention from the school and developed post-traumatic stress disorder. CRLA is involved in litigation to fix the district’s inadequate response to bullying.

Click here to read further about this important case!


Litigation Update: As you may recall, CRLA filed a lawsuit to protect students in Kern County.  The Kern High School District (KHSD) has been disciplining Latinos and African-American students at a higher rate than their white peers. CRLA and a coalition of civil rights groups were not surprised to learn that the District’s own findings indicate that African American students are subject to double the rates of discipline as white students.

Click here to read more about this development in the case!


Earlier this month, CRLA reached a favorable settlement agreement with the Ventura County Office of Education to protect the education rights of the most vulnerable students in California: juvenile justice youth including low-income students with disabilities and students from non/limited English speaking households. Working with our partner, the Youth Law Center, the County must provide supplemental education services to students who had been denied access to classroom instruction and forced into independent study.

Click here to read more about this settlement!