MALDEF Brings Latino Issues to Forefront in California Capital with "2012 Latino State of the State"

Leading Legal Civil Rights Organization Hosts Public Discussion on Key Issues Affecting Latinos

SACRAMENTO, CA - On Wednesday, March 14, 2011, MALDEF, the nation's leading legal civil rights organization, hosted the "2012 Latino State of the State: Discussion on Law, Policy, and Civil Rights in California." The event served as a convening of leaders and experts addressing issues and policies affecting California’s Latino community.

Held at The California Museum in Sacramento, the Latino State of the State featured a cross-section of top experts and leaders on a range of issues facing the Latino community, including state revenue and the California budget, school discipline and other education-related issues, criminal justice, labor rights and immigrant rights.

Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF President and General Counsel, stated "California has a real opportunity to continue to situate itself as a golden state of fairness and opportunity, but to do so, it must solve critical issues related to budget and revenue, educational opportunity, criminal justice, and immigrants' rights and integration. Representing 38 percent of the California population, the Latino community will play a critical role in creating the future California."

Saenz served as moderator for the panel and delivered the keynote address, during which he outlined MALDEF’s 2012 public policy priorities for California, as well as the legal opportunities and challenges facing Latinos in the state and across the nation.

MALDEF received significant support from the Rosenberg Foundation for this year’s event, and Rosenberg Foundation President Timothy P. Silard served as a panelist. Established in 1935 at the bequest of Max L. Rosenberg, the Rosenberg Foundation believes that every person in California must have fair and equitable opportunities to participate fully in the state’s economic, social, and political life.

Additional panel participants at the 2012 Latino State of the State included: Pablo Alvarado, Director, National Day Labor Organizing Network (NDLON); Mary Lou Fulton, Senior Program Manager, The California Endowment; and Claudia Peña, Statewide Project Coordinator, California Civil Rights Coalition.

MALDEF’s Latino State of the State provided an opportunity for the civil rights organizations to set the stage for many of the issues, challenges, and opportunities that lie ahead for the Latino community. MALDEF’s Sacramento Policy Office will continue to focus on the following areas: (1) Immigrant Rights; (2) Education (both K-12 and higher education); and (3) Voting rights.

Jeannette Zanipatin, Legislative Staff Attorney in Sacramento, remarked, "Today’s event marks an important convening for Latinos in California and for those who work to ensure that the civil rights of all Latinos are preserved in a state like California. California is also poised to send a clear message to neighboring states that California values the many contributions that immigrants make to our economy and way of life."

View MALDEF's 2012 Latino State of the State and The Harvest Screening photo gallery here:

Watch MALDEF's 2012 Latino State of the State program here:

In 2003, MALDEF represented repatriated Mexican Americans who sought reparations and an official apology from the state of California. Through the filing of a lawsuit and active engagement in public policy and legislative efforts to address the issue at the federal and state level, MALDEF helped secure the passage of former California State Senator Joe Dunn's legislation, SB 670: "Apology Act for the 1930s Mexican Repatriation Program." Governor Schwarzenegger signed SB 670 in 2005.

Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund