MALDEF Honors Three Pioneers at 2010 Los Angeles Awards Gala; Special Guests Included Musicians Raul y Mexia, "Todos Somos Arizona" to Benefit MALDEF's SB1070 Lawsuit

LOS ANGELES, CA - On Thursday, November 4, 2010, MALDEF hosted its 2010 Los Angeles Awards Gala at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel. At the Gala, MALDEF paid tribute to three pioneering individuals for their long-standing commitments to public service, civil rights and Latin American music and culture respectively. The Gala brought together leaders, civil rights advocates, lawyers and others from across the city. Honorees included: The Honorable Antonio R. Villaraigosa, Mayor of Los Angeles; Ramona Ripston, long-standing Executive Director of ACLU of Southern California; and José José, one of the greatest Latin American singers of all time.

"All of our community's many opportunities seem much more achievable with friends, allies, and partners like our honorees tonight: the kindly and renowned Jose Jose, who has used his talent in unparalleled ways to serve community; the tenacious and wise Ramona Ripston, who has become an irreplaceable bedrock in the Los Angeles civil rights community; and the bold and innovative Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, whose record of public service in tackling the most difficult problems is exemplary. And, tonight we also acknowledge with sadness the loss of one of our leading co-founders, Mario G. Obledo, an innovator and strategist of unmatched caliber," stated Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF President and General Counsel.

Also in attendance were Raul y Mexia - brothers Raul Antonio and Mexia (pronounced “Mek-si-uh”) Hernandez, who are the sons of Hernan Hernandez (of the acclaimed Los Tigres del Norte). Raul y Mexia recently came together to create their new single “Todos Somos Arizona” (translated as “We are all Arizona”), a lyrical, hip-hop infused testimony of humanity and tolerance as well as a call to action for all who hear it. Raul y Mexia describe their new single “Todos Somos Arizona” as a cross generational anthem with an addictive beat and compelling narrative. To purchase the song, please visit iTunes. The brothers wanted to do more than give voice to the fears of young Americans of Latino descent who are anxious about the future of their families - they wanted to take action.

"We wanted to make a song that reflected the frustration and struggle of our people," Mexia said. "America is a country founded and built by immigrants, but immigration laws focused on Latinos have often changed depending on the labor needs of the country." Raul Antonio added, "This law is affecting so many families including our own." Quoting from the song, Mexia remarked, "This is our home country built on immigrant blood were all descendants and connected through love."

MALDEF featured the video to the song at the Gala, to the delight of the crowd in attendance. All proceeds from the song will go to MALDEF to support the organization's ongoing legal battle against the radical Arizona law and to continue the organization's assistance to Latino communities in need.

To purchase the song, please visit iTunes


Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund