2018 Award Recipients
La Raza Lawyers $20,000 Scholarship Recipient
UC Hastings School of Law
Wendy M. Hernandez is a proud daughter of Honduran immigrants and a first-generation, second-year law student at the University of California, Hastings. She earned her bachelor’s degree in American Studies (with departmental honors) from the University of California, Berkeley, where she published two undergraduate research studies, was inducted into the Order of Omega for her high academic achievement, and was selected as the Chancellor’s Mather Good Citizen Awardee for Public Service upon graduating.
Immediately prior to law school, she spent three years providing direct legal, social and advocacy services to hundreds of vulnerable families in Los Angeles (LA) County. In that time, she advocated endlessly for juvenile justice reform, education equity, and economic justice at the Office of LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, LA County Superior Court, and LA County’s premiere Juvenile Diversion agency, Centinela Youth Services, Inc. Most recently, she was a legal extern to the Hon. Fernando M. Olguin of the United States District Court, Central District of California, where she provided bench memoranda, drafted judicial orders, & performed legal research support for a wide range of civil and criminal manners.
At UC Hastings, she fearlessly leads La Raza Law Students Association, is a Staff-Editor for the Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly, and is a Research Assistant to Professor Alina Ball. Additionally, she works off-campus for PhillipsBlack, a private death penalty defense firm, providing quick turn-around research projects for re-sentencing hearings of juveniles and young adults facing harsh life sentences. Ms. Hernandez looks forward to becoming a civil rights impact-litigator, policy reform influencer, and diversifying the legal profession by continuing to mentor those behind her in the legal pipeline.
Daniel Hernandez Scholarship for Community Service
Santa Clara University School of Law
Originally from Guadalajara, Mexico, Victor came to the United States as an infant and grew up in Southeast Los Angeles County. He holds a B.A. in Global Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. As an undergraduate, he began to organize for immigrant rights. He coordinated fundraisers for scholarships to benefit undocumented students, lobbied university administrators, and rallied against anti-immigrant legislation.
After graduating from college, he joined the Farm Worker Movement, the historic social justice movement created by Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta. He had the opportunity of practicing immigration law as a U.S. Department of Justice accredited representative with the United Farm Workers (UFW) Foundation. During his time with the UFW Foundation, he assisted hundreds of people to apply for immigration benefits and educated thousands on their eligibility for immigration benefits and their constitutional rights. He also volunteered at the South Texas Family Residential Center, an immigration detention center, preparing mothers for the credible fear interviews that would be the basis for their asylum cases.
Before attending law school, Victor served as a Senior Paralegal at the Coalition for Human Rights (CHIRLA), one of the most prolific immigrant rights organizations in Los Angeles. During his brief time with CHIRLA, he served as a Spanish interpreter at an asylum interview, trained coworkers on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and helped nearly 200 clients to apply for naturalization or DACA. As an attorney, he aspires to advance equity and inclusivity for immigrants through direct services, impact litigation, and policy advocacy.
Andrew Gonzalez Scholarship for Leadership
UC Hastings School of Law
Violeta Alvarez was raised in San Diego in a single-parent home. She attended San Diego City Community College and transferred with high honors to the University of California, Berkeley. Violeta is now a first-year law student at UC Hastings College of the Law. As an undergraduate Violeta did extensive work with underrepresented and minority communities, in particular, “formerly incarcerated and system-impacted people” and wishes to continue working with this population now and after graduating from law school. Violeta has two children, ages 9 and 19 months.