Gold Sponsor: Mintz Levin, Union Bank, and Procopio; Silver Sponsors: Dependency Legal Group of San Diego, Robbins Arroyo LLP, Blanco Tax Law; Bronze Sponsor: The Cabrera Firm; Individual Donors (over $5,000): San Diego Foundation- Anonymous; (over $3,000): Laura & Jose Castillo, Esq. and (over $1,000): Dr. Luis Castellanos & Lizzette Herrera Castellanos, Esq.; Galente Ganci, APC; Law Offices of Sergio Feria, Lilia Garcia, Esq. & Victor Nunez, Esq. and Steve Nunez, Esq.

The 2014 Gala Dinner was a milestone for San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association, celebrating 35 years since incorporation. The sold out event took place on a Saturday evening at the Hard Rock Hotel in downtown San Diego. The incredible program for the Dinner included a history of the organization and an in-depth year in review, in addition to the features on our award winners.

It was kicked off by Adriana Ochoa and Jake Romero, the 2014 Gala Dinner Chairs who thanked our many generous sponsors. 2013-2014 President Renee Galente was introduced and thanked the board for it’s herculean efforts throughout the year and acknowledged the great work done by the many volunteers who make the organization what it is. She also noted that this year SDLRLA was honored for its work with the California State Bar Diversity award!

Renee was honored to present the President’s Award to member Alara Chilton, whose work on the LEAP Program in conjunction with the San Diego Office of the District Attorney, Neighborhood Law School and LASSD has been immeasurable.

Following the award, Superior Court of California, County of San Diego Judge Yvonne Campos swore in the incoming board of directors of SDLRLA. Thank you, Judge Campos! Renee returned to the stage to present the 2014 Service to SLDLRA Award to the very deserving Lilia Garcia, a past President of SDLRLA who continues to support the organization and the mission in all she does.

Everyone waited with bated breath for the next speaker, Keynote Edward James Olmos. Mr. Olmos spoke passionately about the importance of strongly standing for what you believe in and being independent, personally and politically, to effectuate change.

“I’ve spent my entire adult life trying to realize how in the world are we ever going to come together when we keep on using the word ‘race’ as a cultural determinant,” said Olmos in a commencement speech in San Diego, California. “There’s only one race, and that’s the human race. Period.”

He congratulated the many award winners for the evening on their accomplishments, which was a perfect segue for Candi Mayes and Jose Castillo, the Scholarship Award Chairs, to take the stage and present the 2014 Scholarship Recipients. In honor of SDLRLA’s 35th Anniversary, the Scholarship Fund gave out $35,000 in scholarships during 2014!

Next, long-time member, advocate, Past President and current Endorsement Chair George Aguilar was presented with the 2014 Attorney of the Year Award.

Finally, incoming President Rodrigo Guevara closed the evening out with his remarks. After the Dinner, many of the attendees went downstairs- with Edward James Olmos!- for some drinks and dancing! What a successful 35th Gala Dinner!

Many thanks to Outgoing SDLRLA SF President Nadia Bermudez for her hard work in building the Scholarship Fund! Nadia is the second President of the Scholarship Fund, and has led the organization for the past three years.