Gold Sponsor: Mintz Levin; Silver Sponsors: Dependency Legal Group of San Diego, Robbins Arroyo LLP, and Union Bank; Bronze Sponsor: Westpac Wealth Partners; Individual Donors (over $1,000): Judge Bob Amador; Dr. Luis Castellanos & Lizzette Herrera Castellanos; Laura & Jose Castillo, Esq.; Sergio Feria, Esq.; and Steve Nunez, Esq.

The 2013 SDLRLA Scholarship Fund Dinner was held on Friday, October 11 at the Hard Rock Hotel, Downtown. The reception in the Abby Road hallway was, as always, a blast, with a silent auction on sport memorabilia hosted by Big Blue Auctions and a bevy of beautiful jewelry and stylish clothes hosted by Early Byrd Boutique.

The Dinner was kicked off by Scholarship Fund Board President Nadia Bermudez, who welcomed the over 300 attendees and graciously thanked the sponsors for their support. A full list of the 2013 sponsors can be found here.

Following Nadia, SDLRLA 2013 President Rafael Castellanos presented Endorsement Chair and past SDLRLA and California La Raza Lawyers Association President George Aguilar with the President’s Award. He also presented $3,000 dollars in grants to Border Angels, Reality Changers, Casa Cornelia and the ACLU.

The 2014 Board of Directors was sworn in by Judge Amador, who followed the swearing-in with a generous donation to the Scholarship Fund. Thank you, Judge Amador! California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, 80th District, then gave a short talk about her work on AB 1024: which authorizes the Supreme Court to admit to the practice of law an applicant who is not lawfully present in the United States, upon certification by the committee that the applicant has fulfilled those requirements for admission. She was followed by Surprise Special Guest Sergio Garcia, who spoke briefly on his struggle and recent victory with Gov. Brown signing AB 1024 into law. Next, Cynthia Mares, the 2013 Hispanic National Bar Association President-Elect spoke about the HNBA’s work, both nationally and locally, and encouraged SDLRLA members to join.

The high point of the evening was awarding 11 law students with $15,000 in scholarships! The Scholarship Selection Committee was chaired this year by SDLRLA member Candi Mayes. Following the award presentation, Lizzette Herrera Castellanos and Eran Bermudez provided a stellar introduction for SDLRLA’s Attorney of the Year award recipient, Kevin Keenan. Kevin has been an incredible leader and activist in San Diego and we wish him the best of luck in his new endeavors as he moves to join the NAACP as COO & General Counsel in New York!

The evening closed out with some words from incoming President Renee Galente who made a heartfelt request that each attendee renew their membership in the upcoming year… and get their friends to join too, “[b]ecause there is strength in numbers and we have as an organization much more impact the larger our numbers are.” Member and community support is what keeps SDLRLA going. Donations geared towards scholarships, bar stipend and which are meant to be tax deductible should be made to the SDLRLA Scholarship Fund.

This event would not have been possible without the hard work the Dinner Committee. Thank you, especially, to Chair Lizzette Herrera Castellanos and SF President Nadia Bermudez!