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Keep up with the latest news on MALDEF’s work in court, in state and federal legislatures, and in your community.

PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE

Every decade since at least 1981, the release of Census data and the subsequent redistricting process has created new opportunities for Latino political advancement as a result of the growth and prominence of the Latino community throughout the nation. Unfortunately, achieving this progress has always required strong and informed advocacy, as well as litigation under the Constitution and under section 2 of the federal Voting Rights Act (VRA). Each decade, MALDEF has been an acknowledged national leader in this hard-fought work. This year is no exception – in both the hopefulness of the Census data and the challenge in securing districts where Latino voters have the ability to elect candidates of choice. Census data show that Latinos accounted for over half the population growth of the nation as a whole, and 27 states now exceed ten percent in Latino population. Yet, we are already litigating statewide redistricting issues in Illinois and in Texas. In both cases, the majority party in the state legislature (Democrats in Illinois, Republicans in Texas) adopted maps that dismantle existing Latino-majority districts and that fail to create new Latino-majority districts, even though, in both states, Latinos experienced significant growth in comparison to other population groups. At MALDEF, we know that this is just the beginning of our work, likely to continue through most of the decade, to secure Latino voting rights in fair electoral districts.

As we undertake this critical redistricting work, we also recognize the need for reinvigorated federal voting rights laws and the necessity of acting to ensure that young Latino immigrants can continue to make their essential contributions to our national economy, security, and community. We look forward to our ongoing partnership with all of you!

News Releases

MALDEF STATEMENT ON LDF LEADER SHERRILYN IFILL STEPPING DOWN

LOS ANGELES – Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund), issued the following statement honoring the service of LDF President and Director-Counsel Sherrilyn...

MALDEF STATEMENT ON BIDEN JUDICIAL NOMINEES

LOS ANGELES –  The Biden administration on Wednesday announced more nominees to the federal bench, including three Latinas for district courts in California, Nevada, and New Jersey. Please attribute the following statement on...

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Our History

Celebrating a History of Women Leaders at MALDEF​​

Ambassador Vilma Martinez (left) Thomas A. Saenz (center) and Antonia Hernández (right).
(Photo taken at MALDEF’s 50th Anniversary Gala in San Antonio, Texas.)

As we near the conclusion of Women’s History Month, MALDEF celebrates its organizational history of women in leadership. For the majority of its existence since 1968, MALDEF has been led by women as president and general counsel. Women’s rights organizations aside, MALDEF may be the only national civil rights organization that can make that claim. We spoke with two of these women leaders, women relied upon by MALDEF through their many years of leadership and all the way up to today. MALDEF’s current president and general counsel, Thomas A. Saenz, has benefitted from both these leaders as professional mentors throughout his legal career.

MALDEF’S Landmark Fight for Education Equality in Texas

For years, low-income students in San Antonio were relegated to decrepit schools infested with bats—yes, bats—where tiles fell from classroom ceilings and underpaid teachers fled as soon as they could get hired elsewhere. These schools lacked funding for classes wealthier districts took for granted such, as art and music. Basics such as math and reading in these schools were just that – extremely basic.

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Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund