The 2012 SDLRLA Scholarship Fund Dinner was held on Friday, Octobe 19 at the stylish Hard Rock Hotel, San Diego. The Dinner was kicked off by SDLRLA Scholarship Fund 2012 President Nadia Bermudez, who graciously thanked our generous sponsors. Next, SDLRLA 2012 President Lizzette Herrera Castellanos awarded 2012 Treasurer Sergio Feria the Presdient’s Award in recognition of his dedication and service to the organization. Lizzette also gave an award to Legal Aid Society of San Diego, recognizing their work as a community partner, and grants to both Casa Cornelia Law Center and the ACLU. View the 2012 Gala Dinner program. 2012 Political Affairs Representative and 2013 President Rafael Castellanos introduced Congressman Filner, who addressed the crowd. Then the 2013 Board of SDLRLA was sworn in by Judge Meza.

An incredible video was played for the audience which highlighted the mission and work of SDLRLA. Judge Meza then introduced Keynote Speaker Thomas Saenz. Mr. Saenz serves as the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund’s (MALDEF) President and General Counsel. Mr. Saenz previously served as MALDEF’s lead counsel in the successful challenge to California’s anti-immigrant Prop 187, and he led numerous civil rights cases in the areas of education, immigrant rights, employment, and voting rights. He also served as MALDEF’s lead counsel in two court challenges to Prop 227, a California English-only education initiative. Mr. Saenz was also the lead drafter of the amicus brief on behalf of Latino organizations supporting affirmative action in the Supreme Court case, Grutter v. Bollinger. Mr. Saenz was followed by the presentation of $16,500 in scholarship to 10 very deserving law students, representing the three local law schools in San Diego. The dinner culminated in the awarding of the 2012 Attorney of the Year Award to Jose Garza Badillo (who, according to Badillo’s daughter, won for being the “best and the coolest” attorney in San Diego!)

Rafael Castellanos closed out the night, highlighting the importance of standing together as a community and the strength that we have when we do so. The 2012 Gala Dinner was a memorable and inspiring event. Thank you to all who attended, who supported and who’s hard work made it happen. Special thanks to the Dinner co-chairs, Nadia Bermudez and Lizzetter Herrera Castellanos for all their hard work.