San Diego La Raza Blog

Leaders Circle Members

A special THANK YOU to those that made the decision to invest in San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association and become a Founding Member of the Leaders Circle.  As you know, “SDLRLA is a non-partisan organization which takes great pride in its political activity. This...

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Support SDLRLA 2016  Endorsed Candidates

Support SDLRLA 2016 Endorsed Candidates

For San Diego City Attorney: Mara Elliot Click here for more information about Deputy City Attorney, Mara Ellliot. For National City Council: Jerry Cano Click here for more information about National City Vice Mayor, Jerry Cano. For San Diego County Bar Association...

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SDLRLA Press Release Re: Donald Trump

San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association and Community Organizations Respond to Trump Attacks

San Diego, CA – The San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association along with Tom Homann LGBT Law Association and Justicia Criminal Defense Lawyers announce a response to Donald Trump’s misleading remarks about the San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association and his repeated comments regarding U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel.

By Luis O. Osuna, San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association President:

In recent days our organization and Judge Curiel have become the targets of Donald Trump’s attacks. The comments made by Trump have been misleading, blatant lies and even racist in nature. Given the amount of attention that Trump’s remarks have produced, this statement seeks to clarify who we are as an association, our purpose and the abject impropriety of Trump’s criticism of Judge Curiel and his attacks on the independence of the judiciary.

A part of the general public has made assumptions about our organization based on our association’s name. It is important to note that while the term “La Raza” literally translates into “the race”, its literal translation does not reflect its cultural meaning. In that context, La Raza refers to the concept of the power of the people working together in the name of justice and in the face of adversity. It is in this sense that our association invokes “La Raza.”

The San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association (SDLRLA) is a local diversity bar association whose reputation among the San Diego legal community is highly regarded. Our focus is “to advance the cause of equality, empowerment and justice for Latino attorneys and the Latino community in San Diego County through service and advocacy. We are dedicated to promoting diversity on both the bench and bar…” (

SDLRLA’s membership consists of lawyers, judges, law students and other professionals who work with lawyers in a professional capacity. Our membership of about 300 individuals is not monolithic, consisting of members with diverse backgrounds–conservatives, liberals, Republicans, Democrats and Latinos and non-Latinos alike.

We provide our members with professional development seminars, professional networking events, mentorship programs, and award scholarships and bar stipends open to law students of all ethnic backgrounds. In addition, we provide the Latino community with information about legal resources, organize “Know Your Rights” seminars and host candidate debates during local elections that focus on issues primarily affecting the Latino community. While our association is non-partisan, we do endorse candidates whose values align with our mission statement; however, such endorsements have included candidates from both major political parties.

Contrary to what Trump has stated, we are not affiliated with the National Council of La Raza (NCLR). NCLR is a wholly independent civil rights and advocacy non-profit organization. ( SDLRLA has not been involved in organizing any Trump protests, nor do we work in conjunction with NCLR.

As an association that provides limited services, we direct members of the Latino community in need of help to other organizations. As such, on our website we have a page titled, “For the Community,” which lists links to numerous organizations across the country that serve the Latino community. These organizations focus on various issues, including police practices, healthcare, immigration and human trafficking, to name a few. On this page there is a link to NCLR’s website, constituting the only tenuous connection SDLRLA has to NCLR.

Furthermore, SDLRLA does not condone any of the violence exhibited by both sides of the protests taking place outside of Trump rallies throughout the country. Our association is committed to effecting change through lawful means and firmly believes that violence only serves to undercut otherwise legitimate concerns.

Regarding Trump’s comments about Judge Curiel. Judge Curiel is a member of our association, as are many other local attorneys and judges of all ethnic backgrounds. By now, most people are aware of the barrage of attacks levied by Trump. Specifically, Trump’s racist remarks claiming that Judge Curiel’s Mexican heritage makes him incapable of acting in an unbiased manner while presiding over two of the Trump University lawsuits.
Appropriately so, the judicial code of conduct does not allow Judge Curiel to respond to Trump’s unjustified attacks. Nevertheless, it is imperative to clarify that we are not speaking for Judge Curiel, but rather, we are speaking as legal professionals concerned about the baseless attacks on a man of integrity and their wider implications. As fellow members of the professional legal community, it is incumbent upon us to defend Judge Curiel’s unimpeachable integrity and to highlight the dangers of such criticism of a federal judge by a presumptive presidential nominee.

Judge Curiel, who is a U.S.-born citizen, is a well respected member of the legal community. His reputation is held in high esteem by attorneys who have encountered him both as a federal prosecutor and as a state or federal judge. He is an exemplar of public service who risked his life in prosecuting members of the Arellano-Felix drug cartel. A task he courageously and successfully undertook took to protect all Americans–his own Mexican heritage notwithstanding.

The notion that Judge Curiel’s Mexican heritage precludes him from being impartial as he presides over the Trump University lawsuits is completely at odds with the views of legal experts across the nation and untethered from reality. African–American judges have presided over civil rights cases; female judges have presided over gender discrimination matters; both have done so impartially. One need only look to Justice Clarence Thomas of the U.S. Supreme Court who has repeatedly ruled to strike down laws enacted to protect the rights of African-Americans, despite his own ethnic background.

If we allow Trump’s comments to become perfunctory within the normal parameters of political discourse, we then risk descending into a country that reduces every individual down to their ethnic heritage, gender, religion or political ideology. Inevitably, this will lead to the improper use of these metrics to measure an individual’s abilities.

Trump’s repeated accusations of Judge Curiel display an utter lack of understanding for the role we play as attorneys and judges sworn to follow the law and uphold the Constitution. We do not question Trump’s First Amendment right to give his opinion as a named defendant in a civil suit; however, Trump is not the average civilian––he is the presumptive presidential nominee for one of the two major political parties.

This fact should raise concerns among all Americans on both ends of the political spectrum. His persistent attacks on Judge Curiel are not only racist, but they provide an ominous portent of how Trump may use the power of the presidency to intimidate federal judges. Such abuse of executive power poses a threat to all Americans. It is an independent judiciary and a respect of the separation of powers mandated by the Constitution that secures the civil liberties and freedom of the American people. Moreover, Trump’s comments only serve to foment the public’s distrust in our nation’s judicial system, thereby undermining one of the three pillars of our democracy.

For the foregoing reasons, we call on other bar associations to join us in denouncing Trump’s comments and demand that he retract his remarks.

Luis O. Osuna, SDLRLA President

Media: To schedule an interview or request more information, please contact Luis Osuna at 619-948-7668 or [email protected].

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Run for the Board!

Dear SDLRLA Members, This year has flown by! I have been honored to serve as President of SDLRLA and to work with such a talented Board of Directors and our other San Diego bar association leaders. We have consistently put on fantastic events that have engaged our...

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SF Bar Stipends Return!

The SDLRLA Scholarship Fund proudly announces the sixth year of its Bar Stipend Scholarship Program! The bar stipend is awarded to law students in their final year of study to assist with bar examination related expenses. In awarding bar stipends, the Fund will...

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2015 Membership Mixer!

SDLRLA's Annual Membership Mixer - January 20, 2015  5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. Interested in getting involved with SDLRLA or connecting with its members?  Please save the date for SDLRLA's Annual Membership Mixer to be held at Karina's new location in downtown San Diego....

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Law Library Seeks Trustee

COUNTY LAW LIBRARY SEEKS TRUSTEE The San Diego Law Library has an opening for a new trustee to serve a three-year term on its governing board.  By statute, the trustee must be an attorney and preferably a member of the San Diego County Bar Association. See Business...

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S.E.C. Event at USD!

Please join the SEC San Diego Initiative with La Raza Law Students at the University of San Diego School of Law. An SEC representative from the Office of Minority and Women Inclusion will speak about the role and mission of OMWI. Also speaking, are SEC attorneys to...

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AUSA Job Posting

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of California is currently seeking experienced attorneys for one or more positions as Assistant U.S. Attorneys ("AUSAs") in the Major Frauds and Special Prosecutions Section ("MFSPS"). The MFSPS handles complex...

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Amistad this Thursday!

Please join us for networking and pizza at Bar Basic in Downtown San Diego on 10th and J st. (410 10th Avenue) on November 13, 2014.  The event will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and is co-hosted by the Filipino American Lawyers of San Diego. 

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Holidays Around the World!

SDCBA’s Ethnic & Relations Diversity Committee and San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association cordially invites you to the annual: HOLIDAYS AROUND THE WORLD MIXER November 6, 2014 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM SDCBA Conference Center 401 West A Street, Suite 120 San Diego, CA...

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Cuellar Luncheon – October 28

SDLRLA presents Lunch with California Supreme Court nominee Prof. Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar Tuesday Oct. 28, 2014, 12- 1:30 p.m. The Bristol Hotel Prof. Cuéllar was nominated to the Supreme Court by Gov. Brown on July 22, 2014, and confirmed unanimously on August 28....

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San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association Mentoring and Student Committees Present: JOINT MIXER AT CAFÉ SEVILLA ALL MEMBERS ARE INVITED TO JOIN US ON THURSDAY, OCTOBER 9, 2014 6:00 P.M. TO 8:00 P.M.                                                                        AT...

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Voting opens today (9/9/14) for you SDLRLA Board of Directors!  All regular members who became members prior to 7/7/14 are voting members. Please check your emails for your electronic ballot. Thanks to all who came out to MOSAIC last night to meet and talk with the...

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Informed Voters Event

SDLRLA is proud to partner with the National Association of Women Judges on its Informed Voter Project.  Please join us to learn more about the IVP at a networking event featuring Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye on Thursday, September 11 at the University Club atop...

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Couture 4 a Cause

Wednesday, September 24, 2014   6:00 - 9:00 p.m. San Diego Hall of Champions 2131 Pan American Plaza Bringing San Diego legal professionals together to benefit children in need, the San Diego Chapter of the Association of Legal Administrators, in partnership with...

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