Raising awareness of issues plaguing the Latino community

Posted at 7:00 AM, Sep 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-22 15:48:10-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Over the last years, the Las Vegas Latino Bar Association (LVLBA) have had women presidents, who have broken barriers to represent the Hispanic community and have a voice in our valley.

However, it’s one of the few organizations in the state to have such a strong women leadership. Its current president is Mayra Salinas-Menjivar. Their immediate past president is Marisa Rodriguez, Senior Deputy City Attorney with the City of North Las Vegas, and their president-elect is Claudia Aguayo, Assistant City Attorney for the City of North Las Vegas.

KTNV 13 Action News sat with the three of them, who shared not only their passion for law and justice, but also the struggles they faced to be able not only to graduate but to get to their current position.

“I was first generation and this was the organization that open the doors to getting t know other prominent Latino lawyers in the state," said Rodriguez.

Most of the board members are also their first to graduate from college, they all feel is their duty not only to raise awareness of the issues that affect the Latino community but also to give back to and help those who are in the same position they were years ago.

“Especially here in Las Vegas we have a lot of Latino children who have a lot of potential, who are intelligent, who are hardworking, but if they don’t see someone in a certain position, is hard for them to visualize them doing that," expressed Salinas-Menjivar.

Programs like “Andale” and “Huellas," help to raise funds for scholarships and mentor law students before, during and after their graduation, in a field where Hispanics are a small minority

“Female Latina attorneys are only 2% of the total attorney population, so we’re actually the most underrepresented demographic group so I think there is a lot of room for improvement," said Aguayo.

Judge Cristin Silva, from the Eighth Judicial District Court, Department Nine in Nevada, says part of her success in being appointed to the bench is thanks to the LVLBA, as well as the values that her family in El Paso taught her, like hard work, resilience and empathy

“Don’t forget where you came from. Is incredibly important to carry those values; don’t give up. People will tell you all the time, is too hard, is too difficult, you can’t do it, you’re not smart enough, you’re not strong enough, you’re too little fill in the blank the description that they give, you keep on going," shared Silva.

Since 1995, its purpose has been to “serve the public interest by cultivating the science of jurisprudence, promoting reform in the law, facilitating the administration of justice, advancing the standing of Latinos in the legal profession, preserving the high standards of professionalism among Latino attorneys, and cooperating with other professional and community organizations in furthering the aforementioned purposes," according to their website

The Las Vegas Latino Bar Association hopes to continue to help law students in their careers and impulse Hispanics in our Valley to represent the community

For more information, you can visit their website at https://www.lvlba.com/