Press Releases

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  • 02 Jul 2020 10:05 AM | Melinda Cox (Administrator)



          Celebrating 40 Years 
    1980-2020

    THE HISPANIC BAR ASSOCIATION OF NEW JERSEY’S STATEMENT ON THE MURDER OF CARLOS INGRAM LOPEZ WHILE IN CUSTODY OF THE TUCSON POLICE DEPARTMENT.

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 2, 2020

    Carlos Ingram Lopez.  Another victim and name we must say and remember due to the same senseless use of deadly, excessive force by law enforcement officers, resulting in yet another brutal and unjust murder.  This must stop. 

    The Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey (“HBA-NJ”) is horrified by the murder of Carlos Ingram Lopez, a 27-year-old cooking school graduate from Tucson, Arizona, a father to a 2-year-old daughter, a fiancé, a brother, a son, a grandson, a cousin, a friend.  On April 21, 2020, Mr. Ingram-Lopez’s grandmother called the police early in the morning, stating that he was acting erratically and that he was experiencing what has since been described as a “mental crisis”. When the police officers arrived at the scene, Mr. Ingram-Lopez was naked.  Notwithstanding his state of mind, the officers restrained Mr. Ingram-Lopez face-down to the ground, handcuffed him, put at least one plastic blanket over him, and a mesh spit guard for 12 grueling and uninterrupted minutes before he stopped moving.  Carlos can be heard on one of the police officer’s bodycams making various pleas for help, in English and Spanish, for water (agua), and for his grandmother (nana), and asking her to help him (nana ayudame – help me). And, in an all too familiar plea made by minority victims of police brutality, Carlos also told the officers that he could not breathe.  The officers did not care.  The bodycam video of Carlos’ unnecessary and horrific death was just made public despite the crime being committed almost 2 months ago.  

    The Tucson Police Department, like most police departments across the nation, is under scrutiny for their use of excessive force on the black and Latinx community.  Mr. Ingram Lopez’s death, about a month before George Floyd’s death, is another troubling reason why police reform is warranted and necessary.  Since publication of Mr. Floyd’s death, society has witnessed deeply disturbing interactions between the police and peaceful protestors, some resulting in unnecessary serious injury and death.    

    Tuscon Police Chief Chris Magnus, known as a progressive, forward-thinking Chief, offered his resignation and conceded that the officers failed to follow proper protocol for dealing with a person experiencing a mental health crisis involving “excited delirium.” He also acknowledged that his department failed to disclose the death in a timely manner and that the three officers involved had violated department policy.  The three officers involved – Samuel Routledge, Ryan Starbuck, and Jonathan Jackson – have since resigned. Tuscon Mayor Regina Romero, Tuscon’s first Latina mayor, expressed outrage at the incident and said that a life was “needlessly lost” and that the three officers would have been terminated had they not resigned.

    There should be zero tolerance for such inaction and misconduct and the resignation of the officers is not a sufficient response.  HBA-NJ President Melinda Colón Cox, stated: “There is no evidence that Carlos Ingram-Lopez was threatening the officers, resisting arrest or that the level of physical force used against Carlos was warranted.  Law enforcement officers are trained to protect and serve and should be held to a higher standard in these types of situations. The officers involved must be held accountable, regardless of whether there was any willful or malicious intent.  A human life was unnecessarily lost as a result of their failure to follow proper protocols for physical restraints and for handling an incident involving a person experiencing a mental crisis.  Resignation is not enough.  Carlos and his family deserve justice.”

    Police Chief Magnus has reportedly requested that the F.B.I. examine the circumstances that led to Mr. Ingram-Lopez’s death, adding: “I hope we can learn from this incident, do better, and achieve at least some level of healing within the community.”  The criminal investigation into the incident has also been sent to the county attorney’s office, which has to date, not determined or announced whether it will file criminal charges against the officers. 

    HBA-NJ President Melinda Colón Cox said: “Our hearts go out to the family of Carlos Ingram Lopez, who was only 27.  Our hearts also go out to the families of Rayshard Brooks and Elijah McClain, who were killed by police officers, and the countless other families affected by police brutality. An interaction between a police officer and an individual of the black or brown community should not be a death sentence.  We cannot afford to lose any more lives.  Time is up.  Our elected officials must act now and our community must show up and vote for the 2020 election to ensure that change is implemented.”

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    About The Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey

    Founded in 1980, the HBA-NJ is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit association that is comprised of attorneys, judges, law professors, law students, and other professionals who share a common interest in addressing the issues affecting Hispanics within the legal community.

    The purpose of the Association is to serve the public interest: (i) by cultivating the art and science of jurisprudence, (ii) by advancing the standing of the legal profession, and (iii) by preserving high standards of integrity, honor, and professional courtesy among Hispanic lawyers.

    Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey
    P.O. Box 25562, Newark, NJ 07101

    ____________________________________________________________________

    For press inquiries, please contact: Alba V. Aviles, Esq., HBA-NJ Press Secretary, at aaviles@daypitney.com or (973) 966-8034.

    For more information about the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey, please visit our website at: www.njhba.org or contact Melinda Colón Cox, Esq., HBA-NJ President, at Melinda.Cox@piblaw.com or (908) 333-6214.

  • 19 Jun 2020 2:58 PM | Melinda Cox (Administrator)

     Celebrating 40 Years:
    1980-2020

     

    THE HISPANIC BAR ASSOCIATION OF NEW JERSEY APPLAUDS THE SUPREME COURT OF THE
    UNITED STATES FOR ITS DECISION ON DACA.

     

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 19, 2020

    The Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey (“HBA-NJ”) applauds the Supreme Court of the United States’ (“SCOTUS”) decision to reject the Department of Homeland Security’s (“DHS”) attempt to rescind the program known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”). DACA is an immigration relief program that allows certain individuals, who arrived as children in the United States, to apply for forbearance of removal proceedings.  An individual granted relief under DACA is eligible for work authorization and other benefits.  Approximately 800,000 individuals have been approved for DACA status since the program’s inception in 2012.  DACA recipients contribute to the rich diversity of the American population, work, pay taxes – over $8 billion a year according to the Democrats of the Committee on Small Business – and contribute to the economy, growth and livelihood of the United States.  This country is their home and the SCOTUS made the right decision to stop the current federal administration from rescinding the DACA program.   

    HBA-NJ President Melinda Colón Cox said: “The SCOTUS’ decision on DACA is a much needed victory and sign of hope for the Latinx community, especially for the lives of the 800,000 DACA recipients. In the opinion, the SCOTUS recognized the current administration’s and DHS’ haste in ending DACA, but the decision is a reminder that our elected officials must act and provide a legal pathway to citizenship.  DACA recipients, for now, can take a breath without the fear of DHS deporting them at a moment’s notice, but there is still much work to be done to protect our immigrant community.” 

    While the SCOTUS’ decision brings some much needed relief and hope to our immigrant population, the HBA-NJ urges the Senate to pass the American Dream and Promise Act (H.R. 6), which was passed by the House of Representatives on June 4, 2019 by a vote of 237 to 187.  The passage of the legislation would provide protection to DACA recipients, Dreamers and other certain individuals from deportation by providing them with “conditional permanent resident” status, as well as an opportunity to obtain permanent legal status in the United States if certain qualifications are met.  As stated by HBA-NJ President Cox: “The SCOTUS decision is a great step in the right direction but the immigrant community deserves more.  Immigrants built this country and the United States is their home. The administration must recognize, accept and, most importantly, embrace this large sector of the population that makes America what it is today – beautiful, diverse and rich in culture and in color.”

    ###

    About The Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey

    Founded in 1980, the HBA-NJ is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit association that is comprised of attorneys, judges, law professors, law students, and other professionals who share a common interest in addressing the issues affecting Hispanics within the legal community. 

    The purpose of the Association is to serve the public interest: (i) by cultivating the art and science of jurisprudence, (ii) by advancing the standing of the legal profession, and (iii) by preserving high standards of integrity, honor, and professional courtesy among Hispanic lawyers. 

    Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey
    P.O. Box 25562, Newark, NJ 07101

     

     

    For press inquiries, please contact: Alba V. Aviles, Esq., HBA-NJ Press Secretary, at aaviles@daypitney.com or (973) 966-8034.

    For more information about the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey, please visit our website at: www.njhba.org or contact Melinda Colón Cox, Esq., HBA-NJ President, at Melinda.Cox@piblaw.com or (908) 333-6214.


  • 05 Jun 2020 2:40 PM | Melinda Cox (Administrator)


    THE HISPANIC BAR ASSOCIATION OF NEW JERSEY SUPPORTS GOVERNOR MURPHY’S HISTORIC NOMINATION OF FABIANA PIERRE-LOUIS TO THE NEW JERSEY SUPREME COURT

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 5, 2020

    The Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey (“HBA-NJ”) proudly supports Governor Murphy’s historic nomination of Fabiana Pierre-Louis as an Associate Justice for the New Jersey Supreme Court and urges the Senate to confirm her nomination.  If confirmed, Fabiana Pierre-Louis would be the first Haitian-American woman to sit on New Jersey’s highest court. 

    Diversity in New Jersey’s highest court is necessary to ensure that the Supreme Court reflects the diverse population it serves. Ms. Pierre-Louis’s nomination and anticipated confirmation will diversify our judiciary, helping to ensure that diverse perspectives and backgrounds are adequately represented. The HBA-NJ enthusiastically supports her nomination and applauds Governor Murphy for recognizing the importance and need for such diversity on the State’s highest bench.  As quoted in Essence, Governor Murphy acknowledged, “[G]iven the challenges which are being brought to the forefront of our society, and the questions which will undoubtedly rise to reach our Supreme Court – core issues of socioeconomic equality and equity – there is no better meeting of an individual and the times.”  The HBA-NJ agrees.

    Most importantly, Fabiana Pierre-Louis’s extensive experience makes her well-qualified and especially deserving of this appointment.  She is a graduate of Rutgers Law School, clerked for Justice John Wallace, Jr. (ret.) and practiced in private law for several years before joining the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey.  While in the Department of Justice, Ms. Pierre-Louis was the first woman of color to hold the title of Attorney-in-Charge in the Camden and Trenton offices, overseeing and prosecuting criminal trials and matters on a range of issues, including child exploitation offenses, national security matters, and public corruption, among others.  She is the daughter of Haitian immigrants and a first-generation American citizen.  She was the first in her family to attend law school and to become a lawyer. 

    HBA-NJ President Melinda Colón Cox said: “I commend Governor Murphy for his decision to nominate Fabiana Pierre-Louis to the highest court of our state and for recognizing the importance of diversity on our bench. Ms. Pierre-Louis would be the first Black woman and, in fact, the first woman of color, to serve on the state’s highest court.  Her nomination is a crucial step in the much needed direction of our state and country.  New Jersey is a diverse state and our courts should reflect its constituents.  Ms. Pierre-Louis is not only a highly-qualified candidate, but she is known for her honesty, candor and integrity and has a history of upholding justice, which she would undoubtedly do as an Associate Justice on the New Jersey Supreme Court.  We urge the Senate to confirm her nomination.”

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    About The Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey

    Founded in 1980, the HBA-NJ is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit association that is comprised of attorneys, judges, law professors, law students, and other professionals who share a common interest in addressing the issues affecting Hispanics within the legal community.

    The purpose of the Association is to serve the public interest: (i) by cultivating the art and science of jurisprudence, (ii) by advancing the standing of the legal profession, and (iii) by preserving high standards of integrity, honor, and professional courtesy among Hispanic lawyers.

    Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey
    P.O. Box 25562, Newark, NJ 07101


  • 01 Jun 2020 6:04 PM | Melinda Cox (Administrator)



          Celebrating 40 Years:
    1980-2020

    THE HISPANIC BAR ASSOCIATION OF NEW JERSEY’S STATEMENT ON THE MURDER OF GEORGE FLOYD AND OTHERS, THE PROTESTS AND THE NEED FOR CHANGE – ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 1, 2020

    George Floyd.  Ahmaud Arbery.  Breonna Taylor.  We must say their names.

    The Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey (“HBA-NJ”) is saddened and outraged by the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, and the countless others who have lost their lives because of the color of their skin.  Recent events caught on camera have pulled back the curtain on an ugly and prejudicial America that has been too-often ignored – an America where individuals are treated differently and systematically targeted due to the color of their skin. Our black and brown communities will no longer remain silent or complacent in response to this culmination of ongoing, systemic, institutionalized oppression. In addition to these horrific recent acts of clear racism and violence, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a drastically disparate impact on minorities, claiming a disproportionally higher toll of lives among the black and Latinx communities and nothing is being done to prevent this injustice or to protect our communities.  Enough is enough. 

    The most recent murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer over an alleged counterfeit $20.00 bill is horrific and disturbing.  All of the Minneapolis officers involved in George Floyd’s tragic murder must be fully investigated and must be held accountable for their senseless killing of a black man who was not resisting arrest, not disobeying police orders and was murdered and treated disparately only because of the color of his skin.  The message must be clear – rogue police officers are not above the law and black lives matter. The HBA-NJ calls on our elected leaders to demilitarize the police and to help rebuild the community’s trust in law enforcement.  We must all work for justice and do our part every day by calling out each and every injustice including microaggressions.  We are in a time where the cameras are rolling and capturing terrible actions that have been ignored for far too long.  It is enraging and it should not require the senseless murder of a black man or violent protests across the nation for the government to take a stance on equal justice for all.  HBA-NJ President Melinda Colón Cox said: “We need our government officials to protect the rights of our community – all communities – regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality or religion.  We need officials to effectuate real change through new legislation, regulations, police training programs and laws that ensure our police are properly trained to handle escalated situations with an alleged criminal and any inherent situation involving a person of color, because the truth is that racism and biases, whether conscious or unconscious, clearly exist and the consequences of that in our police departments have been deadly. Systemic reform is necessary.  Let’s truly make the American justice system fair and equal to all and let’s end the abuse of power that is so prevalent throughout society.” 

    With respect to the peaceful protests and the rebellions over the weekend throughout the nation, the message is clear – our black and brown communities are hurting.  While the HBA-NJ never condones violence, the anger, the frustration, the pain, the sadness, and the overall realization that black lives are too often overlooked is real and change is necessary.  We must acknowledge our differences, we must rebuild from past historical mistakes, and we must understand, believe and invest in an antiracist society to ensure that the injustice of George Floyd’s death does not happen again.

    The HBA-NJ knows and acknowledges that the majority of law enforcement officers have respect for their position of power, use their authority with fairness and integrity, and serve to protect all communities.  “We thank the law enforcement and police officers who dedicate their lives to protect the people and who see beyond color to ensure equality to justice for all.  We also thank the many police officers and other government officials that joined in the peaceful protests over the weekend, kneeling down by our community members and sharing in our pain.  Now, more than ever, we need all communities to unite and we need all our voices to be heard if we truly want to support and protect our black and brown communities”, said HBA-NJ President Cox. 

    HBA-NJ President Cox further noted: “Our hearts go out to the families of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and to all the other families who have lost their loved ones due to police brutality and senseless acts of violence, racism and hate.  Our hearts go out to Christian Cooper for being faced with unprovoked verbal abuse and racism during his routine bird watching stroll in Central Park.  Our hearts go out to our black and brown communities who are scared, tired, frustrated and hurt.  Our communities need our help, and as lawyers, we must do what we can to ensure justice is served and find ways to lift our community.  We must act swiftly and with urgency.”   As attorneys, the legal profession has a duty to rise up and take a stance to ensure that the laws and rights of all people are equally, fairly and justly applied. The HBA-NJ stands with its black and brown communities, the family of George Floyd and the countless other black families who have lost loved ones unnecessarily because of the color of their skin, and we join you, the New Jersey State Bar Association, the Hispanic National Bar Association, the Garden State Bar Association, the Association of Black Women Lawyers of New Jersey, and the many other affinity bar associations in New Jersey and across the nation, in solidarity, to protect our communities and to uphold the law equally against and for all communities.  HBA-NJ President Cox concluded: “To our black community, we hear you, we see you, and we stand with you.  Enough is enough.”

    ###

     

    About The Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey

     

    Founded in 1980, the HBA-NJ is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit association that is comprised of attorneys, judges, law professors, law students, and other professionals who share a common interest in addressing the issues affecting Hispanics within the legal community.

     

    The purpose of the Association is to serve the public interest: (i) by cultivating the art and science of jurisprudence, (ii) by advancing the standing of the legal profession, and (iii) by preserving high standards of integrity, honor, and professional courtesy among Hispanic lawyers.

     

    Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey
    P.O. Box 25562, Newark, NJ 07101

     

     

    For press inquiries, please contact: Alba V. Aviles, Esq., HBA-NJ Press Secretary, at aaviles@daypitney.com or (973) 966-8034.

     

    For more information about the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey, please visit our website at: www.njhba.org or contact Melinda Colón Cox, Esq., HBA-NJ President, at Melinda.Cox@piblaw.com or (908) 333-6214.

     

     

     


  • 27 Dec 2019 1:12 PM | Melinda Cox (Administrator)


     Celebrating 40 Years:
    1980-2019

     

    THE HISPANIC BAR ASSOCIATION OF NEW JERSEY APPLAUDS NEW JERSEY FOR RESTORING VOTING RIGHTS TO RESIDENTS ON PAROLE OR PROBATION AND EXPANDING THE EXPUNGEMENT LAWS.

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 27, 2019

    The Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey (“HBA-NJ”) applauds the New Jersey Assembly and Senate for passing two bills, which benefit the Latinx community:  1) restoring voting rights to residents on parole or probation (A5823/S4260); and 2) revising and expanding expungement eligibility and procedures (A5981/S4154).  On December 18, 2019, Governor Philip D. Murphy signed both bills into law. 

    In a press release discussing the passing of both legislations, Governor Murphy said: “Our Administration is deeply committed to transforming our criminal justice system, and today we are taking a historic step to give residents impacted by that system a second chance.  I am proud to sign one of the most progressive expungement laws in the nation, which will allow more New Jerseyans the opportunity to fully engage in our society.  I am also proud to enact legislation that will restore voting rights to over 80,000 residents on probation or parole, allowing them to fully participate in our democracy.”

    With these two bills, New Jersey aims to restore some of the racial disparities of the criminal justice system.  The expungement bill creates a new “clean slate” petition for residents who have not committed an offense in 10 years and do not have a conviction for a crime that is not subject to expungement.  The bill also eliminates expungement filing fees and creates an e-filing system.  To implement the new provisions of the expungement law, the bill also appropriates $15 million to the Department of Law and Public Safety.  Further, as a result of the restoration of voting rights bill, which is effective March 17, 2020, approximately 80,000 residents, who are on parole or probation, will have their right to vote restored. 

    HBA-NJ President Melinda Colón Cox noted: “Through the passage of these bills, historically disenfranchised groups, like the Latinx community, who are disproportionately impacted by the criminal justice system, will have their right to vote restored.  2020 will be a historic presidential election year for our nation, and these citizens will have the opportunity to take part of our democracy by exercising their constitutional right to vote.  Similarly, the expansion of the expungement law allows residents to reintegrate fully into our society.  The HBA-NJ applauds the New Jersey legislature and Governor Murphy for leading criminal justice reform in our great State.”

    ### 

    About The Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey  

    Founded in 1980, the HBA-NJ is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit association that is comprised of attorneys, judges, law professors, law students, and other professionals who share a common interest in addressing the issues affecting Hispanics within the legal community. 

    The purpose of the Association is to serve the public interest: (i) by cultivating the art and science of jurisprudence, (ii) by advancing the standing of the legal profession, and (iii) by preserving high standards of integrity, honor, and professional courtesy among Hispanic lawyers. 

    Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey
    P.O. Box 25562, Newark, NJ 07101
     

     

     

     

    For press inquiries, please contact: Alba V. Aviles, Esq., HBA-NJ Press Secretary, at aaviles@daypitney.com or (973) 966-8034.

    For more information about the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey, please visit our website at: www.njhba.org or contact Melinda Colón Cox, Esq., HBA-NJ President, at Melinda.Cox@piblaw.com or (908) 333-6214.

     


    ©2019 Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey.

     


  • 20 Dec 2019 5:05 PM | Melinda Cox (Administrator)

    Celebrating 40 Years:
    1980-2019 

    THE HISPANIC BAR ASSOCIATION OF NEW JERSEY COMMENDS THE STATE FOR PASSING HISTORIC LEGISLATION THAT EXPANDS ACCESS TO DRIVER’S LICENSES FOR NEW JERSEY RESIDENTS REGARDLESS OF THEIR IMMIGRATION STATUS 

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 20, 2019

    The Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey (“HBA-NJ”) commends the New Jersey Assembly and Senate for passing bill A4743 on Monday, December 16, 2019, and Governor Philip D. Murphy for signing the bill into law on Thursday, December 19, 2019. 

    This legislation represents a significant advancement of Latinx rights in New Jersey.  The legislation creates two categories of driver’s licenses.  The first category allows New Jersey residents who do not qualify for a REAL ID Act license—either because they are unable or unwilling to prove lawful presence in the U.S.—to receive a standard license.  The second category of licenses may be used for federal purposes (REAL ID Act compliant) and is available to those who prove lawful presence in the U.S.1

    In discussing the historic impact that this legislation will have during a press conference on the day the bill was signed, Governor Murphy stated, “Today is a simple recognition that our immigrant communities and each of you are a vital part of our State and of our economy. . . .  Our roads will be safer, and our ranks of uninsured drivers will be lower, and that’s good for all of us.”  In addressing concerns that the legislation could result in discriminatory use of the information, the Governor noted, “We are going to protect you and your personal information and that of any other resident who applies for a standard driver’s license.  Insurance companies won’t be allowed to hike your premiums because you don’t have a REAL ID [license] and employers or landlords or even the government won’t be allowed to discriminate against you.  We honor and welcome our immigrant brothers and sisters in our immigrant communities – we are, after all, a nation of immigrants.”

    Following Governor Murphy’s speech, Assemblywoman Annette Quijano, the primary sponsor of A4743, discussed the time, dedication and effort that went into passing the legislation, as well as the positive impact the bill will have on various communities.  Assemblywoman Quijano explained, “along the way, we learned that other communities faced obstacles to secure their driver’s licenses too.  Communities like senior citizens, the homeless, LGBTQIA, and survivors of domestic violence will also benefit from better and more inclusive access to driver’s licenses.  While faced with stiff opposition [to the proposed legislation] at times, [and] temporary defeat, we stood steadfast and today we celebrate.”

    Senators Nellie Pou and Teresa Ruiz also participated in the press conference, noting the importance of this legislation to the Latinx community and commending all of the legislators, advocacy groups, and individuals who worked tirelessly to push for the passage of the legislation.  In explaining the need for legislators to use their voice and power to make a difference, Senator Teresa Ruiz stated, “We truly have the power to write policy that engages every community and creates equity, and fairness and inclusion and, ultimately, safety for women who want to raise their daughters in a better world.”

    By passing this legislation, New Jersey becomes the 15th State (plus DC) to expand access to driver’s licenses regardless of immigration status.  The new legislation will become effective by January 1, 2021.  Notably, it includes certain safety measures to ensure its proper implementation.  For example, the chief administrator of the Motor Vehicle Commission must implement a two-year public awareness campaign to educate the public about the requirements and availability of a standard license versus a REAL ID license.  An eleven-member advisory board will oversee the Motor Vehicle Commission’s implementation of the law.  Finally, within 12 months of the law’s implementation, the advisory board will issue a report to the Governor’s office and State Legislature with its findings and recommendations to address any issues or concerns with the legislation.

    In reiterating the HBA-NJ’s support for the legislation, its President, Melinda Colón Cox stated, “The HBA-NJ applauds the legislature for passing this historic and progressive legislation.  New Jersey has joined the ranks of a growing number of states that grant driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants, a population that cannot and will not be ignored any longer.  This law promotes mobility for undocumented New Jerseyans and allows them to become productive members of society, while enhancing our economy, making our roads safer, and empowering our Latinx community.  By passing this law, New Jersey has sent a powerful message that immigrants are an integral part of our community and deserve equal access to fair and equitable treatment under the law.  Si se pudo!”

    __________________________________

    1 For more information regarding the bills and REAL ID Act, please review the HBA-NJ’s June 6, 2019 Press Release wherein the HBA-NJ expressed its support of the proposed legislation, available at https://www.njhba.org/page-647227/7661984.

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    About The Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey

    Founded in 1980, the HBA-NJ is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit association that is comprised of attorneys, judges, law professors, law students, and other professionals who share a common interest in addressing the issues affecting Hispanics within the legal community.

    The purpose of the Association is to serve the public interest: (i) by cultivating the art and science of jurisprudence, (ii) by advancing the standing of the legal profession, and (iii) by preserving high standards of integrity, honor, and professional courtesy among Hispanic lawyers.

    Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey
    P.O. Box 25562, Newark, NJ 07101

     

     

     

    For press inquiries, please contact: Alba V. Aviles, Esq., HBA-NJ Press Secretary, at aaviles@daypitney.com or (973) 966-8034.

    For more information about the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey, please visit our website at: www.njhba.org or contact Melinda Cólon Cox, Esq., HBA-NJ President, at Melinda.Cox@piblaw.com or (908) 333-6214.

     

     

    ©2019 Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey.

    You received this email because you are a valued friend of ours.  Please unsubscribe if you no longer wish to receive such communications from us.

     


  • 05 Nov 2019 3:48 PM | Melinda Cox (Administrator)

    Celebrating 40 Years:
          1980-2019 

    THE HISPANIC BAR ASSOCIATION OF NEW JERSEY SUPPORTS BILL S-2100/A-3456, WHICH REMOVES THE PROHIBITION ON VOTING BY PERSONS CONVICTED OF AN INDICTABLE OFFENSE WHO ARE ON PAROLE, PROBATION, OR SERVING SENTENCE. 

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 5, 2019

    The Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey (“HBA-NJ”) supports bill S-2100/A-3456, proposed legislation that would restore voting rights to nearly 100,000 New Jerseyans by removing prohibitions on voting currently imposed upon people convicted of an indictable offense who are on parole, probation or serving a sentence.

    Voting is a fundamental right in our democracy. Felon disenfranchisement laws have historically been used to deprive racial minorities, including the Latinx community of New Jersey, of their basic right to vote.  Statistics show that, currently, people of color, including the Latinx community, make up a large percentage of the nearly 100,000 persons prohibited to vote because of criminal convictions.  As a result, felon disfranchisement laws disparately impact our Latinx and minority communities and unfairly dilute the Latinx political power in this State. 

    The Latinx community, in its entirety, should and must have a voice in effectuating change in New Jersey by having the right to elect State leaders and to vote on important public policies and law. Felon disenfranchisement is a tool used to silence that voice, and the adoption of bill S-2100/A-3456 would reverse the prejudicial impact disenfranchisement has had on the Latinx community and other communities.

    The HBA-NJ believes that criminal punishment and the right to elect representatives have no legitimate or logical connection to criminal deterrence.  Our criminal justice system punishes by taking a person’s liberty through incarceration or limiting it through probation or parole.  Such punishment is sufficient as studies have shown that stripping a person of his or her right to vote does not have a deterrent effect on criminal conduct.  Bill S-2100/A-3456 would facilitate rehabilitation for the nearly 100,000 individuals currently ineligible to vote by giving a traditionally underrepresented population a voice to effectuate positive change within their own communities. 

    Voting is one of the most significant rights conferred by citizenship.  As stated by Chief Justice Earl Warren, “[c]itizenship is not a license that expires upon misbehavior.”  The commission of a crime must be punished, but it does not remove the felon from our society and should not strip them of their basic constitutional right to vote, which is derived from citizenship.  Bill S-2100/A-3456 would restore this right, and the HBA-NJ proudly supports and endorses its passage.  HBA-NJ President Melinda Colón Cox noted:  “Today, throughout the State of New Jersey, citizens are exercising their right to vote in the elections and thousands of our Latinx community members are currently unable to exercise that same fundamental right.  It is time for change and it is time to empower and support our community by supporting the restoration of their right to vote.  Passage of bill S-2100/A-3456 will promote fairness and justice in our voting system, will encourage the rehabilitation of convicted felons by making it known that they remain a part of our society, and will further empower and educate our community members by giving them a voice and the ability to effectuate real change in this State.  The HBA-NJ proudly supports the bill and we are here to assist.” 

    ###

    About The Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey 

    Founded in 1980, the HBA-NJ is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit association that is comprised of attorneys, judges, law professors, law students, and other professionals who share a common interest in addressing the issues affecting Hispanics within the legal community.

    The purpose of the Association is to serve the public interest: (i) by cultivating the art and science of jurisprudence, (ii) by advancing the standing of the legal profession, and (iii) by preserving high standards of integrity, honor, and professional courtesy among Hispanic lawyers. 

    Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey
    P.O. Box 25562, Newark, NJ 07101

    __________________________________________________________________________________________

    For press inquiries, please contact: Alba V. Aviles, Esq., HBA-NJ Press Secretary, at aaviles@daypitney.com or (973) 966-8034.

    For more information about the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey, please visit our website at: www.njhba.org or contact Melinda Colón Cox, Esq., HBA-NJ President, at Melinda.Cox@piblaw.com or (908) 333-6214.

    ©2019 Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey.

  • 05 Nov 2019 3:40 PM | Melinda Cox (Administrator)

    THE HISPANIC BAR ASSOCIATION OF NEW JERSEY INSTALLS MELINDA COLON COX AS ITS 40TH PRESIDENT, SWEARS IN ITS 2019-2020 OFFICERS AND TRUSTEES AND KICKS OFF ITS $40,000 IN 40 DAYS FUNDRAISER

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 31, 2019    

    The Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey (“HBA-NJ”) held its 40th Annual Installation and Swearing-In Ceremony of its Officers and Trustees at the Pleasantdale Château in West Orange, New Jersey on October 22, 2019.  The Honorable Michael A. Shipp, District Judge of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, swore in the Officers and Trustees.  After 11 years of service to the HBA-NJ, Melinda Colón Cox, partner at the law firm of Parker Ibrahim & Berg LLP (“PIB Law”), was sworn in as the HBA-NJ’s 40th President. 

    Longtime member of the HBA-NJ, Albertina (“Abby”) Webb, Vice President for the Southern Region of the HBA-NJ and a partner at Hill Wallack LLP, served as the mistress of ceremonies at the sold-out event.  Judges, lawyers, and students from all over the state were among the 400 guests.  Julia A. López, Immediate Past President of the HBA-NJ and an attorney at Reed Smith LLP, highlighted the HBA-NJ’s accomplishments over the past year during her presidency, including the creation of the HBA-NJ Scholarship Endowment Fund and the recent CBS news segment on the HBA-NJ’s American Dream Pipeline Programs.  Irene Oria, National President of the Hispanic National Bar Association (“HNBA”) and partner at Fisher Broyles, also made remarks highlighting the importance of collaboration with the HBA-NJ and congratulating the organization for being named as the HNBA’s 2019 Affiliate of the Year.  We also recognized long-term board member Jonathan Barrera, Esq., HBA-NJ Region 4 Trustee for Passaic County and Assistant Prosecutor at the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office, with the Corazon Del HBA-NJ Award for his outstanding dedication and unwavering service to the organization, which includes his years of leading our Union City High School American Dream Pipeline program. 

    During her presidential remarks, Melinda Colón Cox announced this year’s theme for the HBA-NJ:  “Rise Up – Engage, Empower, Educate.”  While looking at the diverse guests in attendance, Melinda remarked:  “Against all odds, we have succeeded and we should be proud.  But with that success comes a great responsibility – we each have an obligation to pay it forward and to ensure the success of our Latino community.”  With the upcoming 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote and the political and social state of our nation, there is no question that 2020 will be a big year and President Cólon Cox underscored the need for the Latino legal profession to rise up, reminding attendees that “we rise, by lifting others.”  In discussing this year’s theme, President Cólon Cox explained:  “If we want to see progress, we must all rise up by engaging in community, political and social activism, by empowering and elevating one another, and by educating ourselves and our future leaders to promise a better tomorrow.” 

    In celebrating the four decades of the organization, during the Installation, the HBA-NJ launched its $40,000 in 40 days Fundraiser in Celebration of the HBA-NJ’s 40th Anniversary and raised nearly $18,500 in one night.  All donations will go to the HBA-NJ Scholarship Endowment Fund, and 100% of the proceeds will be used to award annual scholarships to deserving high school and law school students.  If you would like to donate, please text “HBANJ40” to 44321 for more information – all donations are tax deductible.  The HBA-NJ also presented a special 40th Anniversary video presentation, entitled: The Past, the Present and the Future, which included photographs and video messages from the HBA-NJ’s 39 past presidents and 40th president, and also published and circulated a special 40th Anniversary edition of its Abogados Newsletter, highlighting the HBA-NJ’s robust 40-year history, which is available on the HBA-NJ’s website at www.njhba.org.

    The HBA-NJ thanks its sponsors and Installation attendees for their generosity and support.  In particular, we would like to thank PIB Law for its Underwriter Annual and Diamond Installation sponsorship, as well as our Amigo Annual and Gold Installation sponsors: 1) Archer & Greiner P.C.; 2) Day Pitney LLP; 3) Hudson Court Reporting & Digital Media; 4) Lowenstein Sandler LLP; 5) Prudential; 6) Reed Smith LLP; and 7) Sterling National Bank; Amigo Annual and Silver Installation sponsor: 1) Stark & Stark; and Silver Installation sponsors: 1) Bederson LLP; 2) D’Arcy Johnson Day; 3) DeCotiis, FitzPatrick, Cole & Giblin, LLP; 4) Fox Rothschild LLP; 5) Law Offices of George Rios, P.A.; 6) Norris McLaughlin P.A.; 7) Norton Rose Fulbright; and 8) Walsh Pizzi O’Reilly Falanga.

    ### 

    About The Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey

    Founded in 1980, the HBA-NJ is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit association that is comprised of attorneys, judges, law professors, law students, and other professionals who share a common interest in addressing the issues affecting Hispanics within the legal community. 

    The purpose of the Association is to serve the public interest: (i) by cultivating the art and science of jurisprudence, (ii) by advancing the standing of the legal profession, and (iii) by preserving high standards of integrity, honor, and professional courtesy among Hispanic lawyers.

    Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey
    P.O. Box 25562, Newark, NJ 07101

    ©2019 Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey.
    ations from us.

  • 02 Jul 2019 8:27 PM | Anonymous


    Celebrating 39 Years:

    1980-2019

    THE HISPANIC BAR ASSOCIATION OF NEW JERSEY CELEBRATED ITS 38th ANNUAL SCHOLARSHIP GALA and AWARDS DINNER and ESTABLISHED the HBA-NJ SCHOLARSHIP AND ENDOWMENT FUND

      FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  July 1, 2019

    The Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey (“HBA-NJ”) held its 38th Annual Scholarship Gala and Awards Dinner (the “Gala”) at The Legacy Castle in Pompton Plains, New Jersey on June 22, 2019.  Almost 400 attorneys, federal and state judges, law students, and guests attended the Gala where the HBA-NJ recognized three remarkable honorees in the Latinx legal community.  Longtime supporter of the HBA-NJ, Parker Ibrahim & Berg LLP was honored as the Law Firm of the Year for its dedicated and demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusion in the legal profession.  Beacon Hill Legal was honored as Corporate Partner of the Year for delivering excellent and trusted service to law firms and companies across the State of New Jersey.  Further, the HBA-NJ awarded the Margarita Echevarria Trailblazer Award to Evelyn Padin, who became the first Latina President of the New Jersey State Bar Association in its 120-year history. 

    HBA-NJ’s 39th President Julia A. López’s said, “The Gala recognized longtime supporters of the HBA-NJ and the Latinx community.  The HBA-NJ also made history by presenting over $100,000 between scholarships and the creation of a scholarship endowment that will help sustain HBA-NJ’s goals going forward.  I am proud to be part of the history that will help secure the success of the Latinx leaders of tomorrow.”   The HBA-NJ specifically awarded $52,000 in scholarships to 12 Latinx law students and 2 American Dream Pipeline Program high school students, and it established the HBA-NJ Scholarship Endowment with an initial check in the amount of $50,000.  The HBA-NJ further pledged to make annual contributions to the HBA-NJ Scholarship Endowment. 

    During the Gala, Carimer N. Andujar passionately spoke about her plight of overcoming obstacles and challenges as an undocumented individual.  Ms. Andujar is a Dreamer, and a graduate of the American Dream Pipeline Program and Rutgers School of Engineering Class of 2019.  President López remarked, “This year’s theme was Diversity Makes America Great and having Carimer address the guests at the Gala was important to me.  She epitomizes the immigrant story of someone who had to flee terrible conditions in order to survive and find opportunities for a better life.  Not only did she find those opportunities, but she succeeded.  It was important for the guests to hear firsthand from someone who is marginalized in today’s society, but who still attained success through the support of a strong network.  Her success is our success, and her story epitomizes the HBA-NJ’s mission at its core.  We are proud of Carimer and will continue to support her and other Dreamers and students alike.”

    The HBA-NJ thanks its sponsors and Gala attendees for their generosity and support.  President López said, “It was great year for the HBA-NJ, which could not have been possible without the support of our sponsors, and I look forward to the celebration of the HBA-NJ’s 40th anniversary next year.”  Please save the date for the Installation and Swearing-In Ceremony of our 40th President, Melinda Colón Cox, and the 2019-2020 Board of Trustees on October 22, 2019, at the Pleasantdale Chateau in West Orange, New Jersey. 

    ###

    About The Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey

    Founded in 1980, the HBA-NJ is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit association that is comprised of attorneys, judges, law professors, law students, and other professionals who share a common interest in addressing the issues affecting Hispanics within the legal community.

    The purpose of the Association is to serve the public interest: (i) by cultivating the art and science of jurisprudence, (ii) by advancing the standing of the legal profession, and (iii) by preserving high standards of integrity, honor, and professional courtesy among Hispanic lawyers.

    Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey
    P.O. Box 25562, Newark, NJ 07101

    For press inquiries, please contact: Alba V. Aviles, Esq., HBA-NJ Press Secretary, at aaviles@daypitney.com or (973) 966-8034.  For more information about the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey, please visit our website at: www.njhba.org or contact Julia A. López, Esq., HBA-NJ President, at jalopez@reedsmith.com or (609) 524-2022.

     ©2019 Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey

  • 06 Jun 2019 11:30 PM | Anonymous


          Celebrating 39 Years:
         1980-2019

    The Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey Supports Bills A4743/S3229, Which Allow New Jersey Residents Who Do Not Qualify For a Real ID Act License, To Receive a Driver’s License.

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 6, 2019

    The Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey (HBA-NJ) urges the New Jersey Assembly and Senate to pass bills A4743 and S3229.  The bills create two types of driver’s licenses: 1) a basic driver’s license, and 2) a REAL ID Act compliant driver’s license.  The basic driver’s license provides driving privileges to New Jersey residents who do not qualify for a REAL ID Act license.  The REAL ID Act compliant license, in turn, may be used for federal purposes and is available to those who prove lawful residence in the United States.

    In 2005, Congress enacted the REAL ID Act.  The Act established rigorous application requirements for driver’s licenses and identification cards for access to federal facilities and nuclear power plants, and for boarding commercial flights. 

    New Jersey’s proposed legislation is a practical response to privacy concerns raised by the REAL ID Act, such as the retention by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) of copies of documents that individuals submit to prove their identity or residency.  By directing state agencies to not retain such documents, the proposed bills aim to comply with federal law—which mandates access to state agency records—while protecting the privacy of New Jersey residents. 

    If enacted, the bills would also provide immigrants with access to New Jersey’s roads—thereby increasing their access to employment, education, and healthcare.  The law would generate additional revenues through licensing fees and would boost the economy through a more mobile labor force.  Additionally, under the law, new drivers would join the insurance pool, thereby lowering insurance rates that must account for accidents involving uninsured motorists.  Finally, access to these licenses would reduce the risk of undocumented drivers being detained for unlicensed driving; or worse, thereafter being placed into the custody of U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement for potential deportation. 

    There may still be risks for those carrying these licenses, such as confirmation bias on the part of law enforcement (i.e., the belief that a standard driver’s license automatically equates to an undocumented driver) or federal agencies making adverse inferences based on limited information received from the MVC.  Notwithstanding, mobility without fear of deportation is essential for quality of life.  Undocumented New Jerseyans should be able to weigh any potential risks against the benefits of: 1) access to licenses, and 2) insurance to protect valuable property, passengers, and other motorists.  Accordingly, the HBA-NJ urges legislators to pass bills A4743 and S3229 without further delay.

    HBA-NJ President Julia A. López noted: “This bill is a step in the right direction.  If the bill becomes law, it will be crucial for the State and its agencies to implement additional privacy protections and educate the public and law enforcement on the significance and implications of the two categories of licenses.”

    ###

    About The Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey

    Founded in 1980, the HBA-NJ is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit association that is comprised of attorneys, judges, law professors, law students, and other professionals who share a common interest in addressing the issues affecting Hispanics within the legal community.

    The purpose of the Association is to serve the public interest: (i) by cultivating the art and science of jurisprudence, (ii) by advancing the standing of the legal profession, and (iii) by preserving high standards of integrity, honor, and professional courtesy among Hispanic lawyers.

    Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey
    P.O. Box 25562, Newark, NJ 07101

    For press inquiries, please contact: Alba V. Aviles, Esq., HBA-NJ Press Secretary, at aaviles@daypitney.com or (973) 966-8034.

    For more information about the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey, please visit our website at: www.njhba.org or contact Julia A. López, Esq., HBA-NJ President, at jalopez@reedsmith.com or (609) 524-2022.


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Founded in 1980, the HBA-NJ is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit association that is comprised of attorneys, judges, law professors, law students, and other professionals who share a common interest in addressing the issues affecting Hispanics within the legal community.

The purpose of the Association is to serve the public interest: (i) by cultivating the art and science of jurisprudence, (ii) by advancing the standing of the legal profession, and (iii) by preserving high standards of integrity, honor, and professional courtesy among Hispanic lawyers.

Hispanic Bar Association                         of New Jersey

P.O. Box 25562, Newark, NJ 07101

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