Rural Justice Updates

CRLA Staff Updates

Estella Cisneros of CRLA's Fresno Office.

Estella Cisneros and Ephraim Camacho of CRLA’s Fresno office were recently featured in a Mother Jones story on the dangers of heat stress for farmworkers living in the Central Valley. Every year, at least four farmworkers nationwide die from heat illness. CRLA trains farmworkers on heat stress prevention and monitors to ensure compliance with laws requiring employers to provide shade, rest, and drinking water. Click here to read more:

Blanca A. Bañuelos, is being honored by MABA with the Edward R. Roybal Public Service Award.

Congratulations to CRLA’s Blanca A. Bañuelos, Director of the Migrant Unit – she is being honored by the Mexican American Bar Association of Los Angeles County (MABA). Blanca will receive the Edward R. Roybal Public Service Award for her sincere commitment to improving the lives of those belonging to marginalized, impoverished and vulnerable communities.

Summer Law Fellowships

From L to R: Arturo Gonzalez, Interns Marisela Bernal and Ilene Reynoso.

Legal interns play a crucial role at CRLA, helping bring justice to rural communities. Law students gain practical experience and a deeper understanding of the issues facing low income populations in rural California. CRLA supporter Arturo Gonzalez believes so strongly in the importance of the internship experience that he generously underwrote two fellowships for Latino law students in 2017.

Arturo Gonzalez, partner at Morrison & Foerster and a nationally recognized litigator, is a long-time CRLA supporter. 

I was motivated to underwrite a Law Fellowship because I used to pick peaches in the Central Valley. I respect what CRLA does to help farmworkers. We all need to give back where we can.  There is still a tremendous need for Latino lawyers. Many law students have problems finding summer legal jobs. If we all contribute, we can help students pay their rent, add something to their resume, and help Latino law students in need.  A Fellowship provides a work experience that is critical if students are to progress in their careers. Watching other lawyers and staff interact with clients and opposing counsel gives law students an important glimpse into the legal market. CRLA is the ideal organization to support because there is an increasing need for energetic and committed people who want to serve the poor. Now more than ever, we have to ensure that migrant workers and their families are treated fairly. I want to encourage other lawyers to consider underwriting a fellowship.  Many of us are fortunate to have more than we need. But our time is limited. By funding a fellowship, we pay it forward--giving law students an opportunity to help those in need.

Education Equity in Bakersfield

Cynthia L. Rice and Jade Crawford.

Parents, students and local residents came together on Friday, September 16th in Bakersfield to discuss next steps after the groundbreaking settlement with Kern High School District leading to historic changes in school discipline policies that disproportionately impact students of color. The community meeting featured information from experts who are working with CRLA to aid the Kern High School District in improving their discipline practices.  Over 60 people attended to share their concerns, their experiences with the school district, and their hopes for the future. CRLA’s legal team, along with our nonprofit partners Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance, Equal Justice Society and MALDEF, shared information and answered questions.  Attendees included the Kern High School Superintendent and many teachers. The meeting was the first of several planned to help the district to address the inequities highlighted by the lawsuit. Go to to see images of Education Justice in Action!

Fighting For Housing Rights

There is a major housing shortage in rural California and too often, rural, low-income residents and families are forced to live in substandard housing. Photo by David Bacon.

Rural, low-income residents face great difficulty finding safe and affordable housing. Similar to San Francisco and Los Angeles, there is a major housing shortage in rural California. Too often, families are forced to live in substandard housing. Clients in Modesto fought back against deplorable housing conditions, which included rodent infestations, dangerous mold and faulty plumbing. They were served eviction notices in return. CRLA Modesto filed a lawsuit to make sure the landlord treats their tenants fairly.


CRLA Supports Indigenous Farmworkers

Many farmworkers do not speak Spanish or English, but indigenous languages native to Mexico. Photo by David Bacon.

Fausto Sanchez, a Community Worker in CRLA's Arvin office, works with indigenous migrant workers. Many of these workers do not speak Spanish or English, but indigenous languages native to Mexico. Fausto and the Indigenous Program help CRLA's clients gain access to essential services in their language. Watch this news segment to learn more about how CRLA is supporting indigenous farmworkers.

Watch Video >>












We welcome all types
of volunteers. Thank you for your
interest in social justice!

Learn more


Watch our latest videos showing
our accomplishments
and compelling stories.

Learn more


Your questions and
concerns are important to us.
Let us know how we can help.

Learn more