The San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association Scholarship Awards Dinner brought together members of the Latino legal community for an evening of recognition on Friday, October 19, at The Hard Rock Hotel in Downtown San Diego. Four TJSL students were honored with scholarships: Ricardo Elorza ‘1L, Aldo Gallardo ‘1L, Edith Polanco ‘1L, and Veronica Carrillo ‘2L, received several thousand dollars in scholarships that will go towards their legal education.
“Being a first-generation high school and college graduate, my family and community back home in Los Angeles sent me off to law school with great expectations and dreams,” said Ricardo Elorza '1L. “Receiving La Raza San Diego Lawyers Association Scholarship means that then strangers invested in those same expectations and dreams. Now strangers no more, La Raza San Diego Lawyers Association has become part of my family and community in San Diego. With this scholarship I am a step closer in becoming an attorney--a dream that has been ten years in the making.”
“Emigrating from Lima, Peru, when the age of five, I grew up in a working class, monolingual home, and my family and I faced sociocultural, linguistic, and economic struggles many immigrants and new Americans experience,” said Aldo Gallardo '1L. “As an undergraduate at Northwestern University, I was a student leader in creating an inclusive and safe space for all students, which sparked my interest in law and social justice. This scholarship is meaningful to me because it supports the immigration law, advocacy, and anti-discrimination work I hope to do after law school. I am honored to be recognized for my work with the Latina/o community and humbled to be supported by a group of legal professionals I aspire to be like.”
“I am very thankful and fortunate to have been selected as one of the recipients," said Edith Polanco '1L. "The scholarship I received from SDLRLA will help maintain my educational debt low, so I can focus on my goals of serving the underprivileged community after I graduate. I have always wanted to give back to my community and having received a scholarship from an organization whose members believe the same is truly an honor."
“I am very blessed to have received a scholarship from an organization that strives for the betterment of the Latino community,” said Veronica Carrillo '2L. “My family has struggled financially and is not in a position to fund my education. This scholarship will alleviate some of the costs associated with attending law school and places me closer to a career in public interest. I hope to one day be in position where I am able to give back and support students who have struggled pursuing higher education.”
This year’s keynote speaker was Thomas Saenz, who serves as the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund’s (MALDEF) President and General Counsel.
The new La Raza Board was also sworn in and includes three TJSL Alums Francisco Aldana ‘01, Lorena Slomanson ‘03 who are both At Large Directors for 2012-2013 and Renee Galente ‘08 who is the La Raza Vice President.
“The dinner was a sell out and a huge success,” said Galente. “I was so proud to see TJSL students receive 4 of the 10 ten awards. We had over 40 application this year for scholarships, the most ever, and it was very difficult for the Scholarship Committee to pick the recipients. Everyone had such a unique and compelling story. The SDLRLA Scholarship Fund continues to move forward in our work to support the next generation of attorneys, and we could not have done it without the support of the local law schools, including TJSL.”
Formed in 1979, the San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association represents more than 300 Latino lawyers in San Diego County and strives to advance the cause of equality, empowerment and justice through service and advocacy.