MALDEF Shifts Operations in Southeast

Regional Counsel, Elise Shore, will move base of operations in the Southeast region to MALDEF's Washington, D.C. office

April 9, 2009

ATLANTA, GA – The current economic downturn facing all Americans is also taking its toll on many non-profit organizations nationwide. MALDEF is no exception and is faced with the difficult task of cutting expenditures as it seeks to continue its service to the Latino and immigrant communities. Effective April 30, 2009, MALDEF’s Southeast Regional Office located in Atlanta, Georgia will close. MALDEF’s Southeast Regional Counsel, Elise Shore, will relocate and continue to serve the southeast region from our National Public Policy office in Washington, D.C.

In April 2002, MALDEF launched a full-service regional office in Atlanta, Georgia, in order to better serve the burgeoning Latino population in the southeastern states. The office monitors issues in the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington D.C. and West Virginia. For the past eight years, MALDEF has worked to defeat anti-immigrant legislation, monitored voting procedures and testified before numerous commissions to oppose proposed anti-immigrant and day laborer ordinances that restrict civil rights and make communities less safe. This year, MALDEF helped defeat SB 67, a proposed bill in the Georgia state legislature that required driver’s license exams to be administered in English only.

During the recent 2008 elections, MALDEF successfully sued the State of Georgia for violating the Voting Rights Act. The lawsuit ensured that Latino voters, many of whom were newly naturalized citizens, do not encounter barriers and are not subjected to extra scrutiny when exercising their right to vote.

“The current economic downturn is impacting the non-profit community in unprecedented ways. Budget cuts have forced many organizations to reevaluate their mission through alternative and creative means. For MALDEF, this means shifting our physical operations in the southeast, but it does not mean straying away from its central mission of serving the Latino and immigrant communities with the highest caliber of legal representation and civil rights advocacy nationwide and in that area,” stated incoming MALDEF Interim President and General Counsel Henry Solano.

"We are proud of the Atlanta office's legal and policy achievements over the last eight years and we plan to advocate as intensively as ever with all of our partners", stated MALDEF Southeast Regional Counsel Elise Shore. “Our office may be moving but our relationships with groups and partners such as the NAACP, GALEO and Rev. Joseph E. Lowery and the Georgia Coalition for the People's Agenda remain strong. We are committed to working with all our partners in the region to continue to provide important legal advocacy for our underserved communities.”

As MALDEF celebrates its 8th year in Atlanta, through its Annual Atlanta Dinner on April 16, 2009, at the Westin Peachtree Plaza, 210 Peachtree Street, NW, it will call upon its valuable partners and area supporters from the last eight years to help spread the word, and increase support and funding for the important legal work and highly successful Parent School Partnership (PSP) program that MALDEF provides the region.

In addition, MALDEF's PSP program will continue to serve and empower parents and community leaders in Georgia to become powerful agents of change in their community and effective advocates in improving their children's educational attainment.

For all media inquiries, please contact Laura Rodriguez.

Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund