Past Recipients

2015

Cindy Avitia Scholarship

Ruby Renteria
Santa Clara University School of Law

Ruby Renteria

Ruby, the youngest of 10 children, was only seven months old when she suffered a ruptured eardrum and almost lost her hearing.  Her mother, a recent immigrant from Mexico, had waited too long to seek treatment, not because she did not love her child, but because she had no means to travel over thirty miles to the nearest hospital and could not speak English.  This is one of many hardships Ruby and her family endured while living in substandard housing at a labor camp.  Ruby’s life in a labor camp initially led her to start undergraduate work in plant pathology, hoping she could help improve labor conditions.  However, the disparate treatment she received as a field researcher receiving water, shade and protection from pesticides compared to no protection for workers, led her to law school instead.  Ruby obtained her Bachelor’s degree in political science at Santa Clara and continued there as a law student.  In her third year, she is now well on her path to become a fierce advocate for better living and working conditions for the poor.  She has been a volunteer student at Law Foundation of Silicon Valley in both their housing collaborative and Mental Health Advocacy Project.

 

Daniel Hernandez Scholarship for Community Service

Carlos Barba

Santa Clara University School of Law

Carlos Barba At an early age, like many young Latinos, Carlos was labeled an “at risk youth.”  He grew up surrounded by gang violence, drugs and domestic violence.  He was constantly angry and frustrated with the impoverished circumstances that surrounded him.  But his life had a turning point when he was suspended from school and had to join his mother at work as a custodial worker.  There he witnessed first hand the exploitation and injustices that occur in the everyday life of a low wage worker.  Instead of seeking refuge in a gang, Carlos graduated with honors from the University of California, Santa Cruz and is now in his second year at Santa Clara University, School of Law.  He has been a dedicated volunteer and part time employee at the Watsonville Law Center, The Katherine and George Alexander Community Law Center.  He will continue his community work as an intern at the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office, in the community prosecution and juvenile justice departments.

 

 

Andrew Gonzalez Scholarship for Leadership

 Maya Younes
Santa Clara University School of Law

Maya Younes

Maya is a first year law student at Santa Clara University.  Her law school career began as a teacher in a third grade class at a Navajo reservation in Phoenix, Arizona.  In that class she was exposed to the heart wrenching lives her students live, often exposed to hunger, domestic violence and substance abuse. Her experience inspired her to become an advocate for the poor and disadvantaged. She has lived in and volunteered at Casa Juan Diego, a shelter and refuge for undocumented immigrant families.  She is always among the few volunteers who speaks Spanish and can therefore already see the impact she can make in women and their children who seek shelter to escape abuse. Maya will be working for the Innocence Project at Santa Clara University this fall. She aspires to be a lawyer advocating for the indigent and ethnic minorities as a civil rights and immigration lawyer.

 

La Raza Lawyers Scholarship

Charles A. Cartagena-Ortiz
University of California Berkeley School of Law

Pic1Charles’ father is in prison and his mother has multiple sclerosis (MS).  Charles often uses his meager income to, not only help him through school, but to also help support his mother, his sister and her two children.  At age 19, Charles realized that he had two options: use his high school diploma to keep his job as an overnight doorman at a condominium or break the cycle of poverty in his family by enrolling in a community college.  Enrolling in college was a turning point in Charles’ life and he has gone far since then.  He graduated with Honors in Economics from Rider University in New Jersey and is currently a first year law student at Berkeley Law.  Charles just completed an internship at Davis Polk & Wardwell, LLP.  He is a member of the Berkeley La Raza Legal Journal and is committed to researching issues affecting the Latino Community, specifically Immigration and Education.