We must never forget that the Hispanic National Bar Association developed out of the compulsion, inspiration, and resolve of a few young Latino lawyers seeking to stand and safeguard the worth and interests of the Latino community.  They understood, “Where there is no vision, the people perish. . .”  They saw the struggles of the Hispanic people, through the lens of foresight and imagination.

Honorable Francisca Cota,
HNBA Historian

50 YEARS OF HNBA ACHIEVEMENTS

With the confirmation of the Hon. Sonia Sotomayor as Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, the HNBA fulfilled one of its founding missions: to work towards the nomination and confirmation of a Hispanic judge to the highest court in the nation.

Endorsed the nomination and confirmation processes, including testifying before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, of dozens of Hispanic judges, attorney generals, assistant attorney generals, and U.S. attorneys at the local, state and federal levels.

Supported the nomination and confirmation of Hispanic executive appointments at the federal level, including the presidential cabinet and diplomatic appointments.

Met with the President of the United States and other White House, Congressional, and Justice Department leaders, to address issues of concern to the HNBA and the Hispanic community in the U.S.

MESSAGE FROM OUR PRESIDENT

It is my honor to serve as President of the Hispanic National Bar Association for the 2021-2022 term.  This year we will honor our proud legacy as we celebrate the 50th anniversary since the founding of the HNBA.

Carlos M. Bollar

Carlos M. Bollar

HNBA FOUNDERS

Hon. Mario G. Obledo

Hon. Cruz Reynoso

Hon. Benjamin Aranda III

Louis Garcia

Miguel R. Mendez

Ed Peña

Baltazar Baca

Al Gonzalez

Hon. Lorenzo Arredondo

John Huerta

Donato Tapia

HNBA HISTORY

The Formation of the HNBA

Like most noteworthy organizations and group efforts, the Hispanic National Bar Association was founded in times of adversity. It was a conscientious response to the increasing struggles and questionable burdens facing the Hispanic community in the United States. The year was 1971, and the landmark decision, Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954), was still leading civil rights litigation across the United States. The civil rights of Hispanic students had been implacably violated long before. In a small town outside of Los Angeles, California, ten years before Brown, Silvia Mendez the daughter of Mauricio Mendez, a Mexican immigrant and a Puerto Rican mother, and other children of Mexican descent were banned from the predominantly white schools of Westminster School District in Orange County, California. The Mendez family together with the Palomino, Estrada, Guzman and Ramirez families, filed a class action lawsuit in 1945 on behalf of 5,000 Mexican-American children in Orange County calling for the integration of the schools. The plaintiffs in Mendez v. Westminster argued that student segregation into separate schools in Orange County was based solely on their national origin. The 9th Circuit acknowledged that the segregation of Mexican and Mexican American students into “Mexican Schools” was unconstitutional. Mendez v. Westminster School District, 64 F.Supp 544 (C.D. Cal 1946), aff’d, 161 F. 2d 744 (9th Cir. 1947.) Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, 402, U.S. 1 (1971) was decided by the United State Supreme Court, dealing with student busing to promote integration in the racially imbalanced public schools.

1971

LA RAZA National Lawyers Association (LRNLA)

The Hispanic National Bar Association was founded in times of adversity. It was a conscientious response to the increasing struggles and questionable burdens facing the Hispanic community in the United States. 

1972

First Board of Governors meeting 

LRNLA founding members are: Mario G. Obledo, Hon. Cruz Reynoso, Louis Garcia, Miguel Angel Mendez, Al Gonzalez, Hon. Lorenzo Arredondo, John Huerta and Donato Tapia. 

1973

First Annual La Raza National Lawyers Convention

At the time, there was an estimated 3000 total known Hispanic lawyers in the country. The Honorable Benjamin Aranda III took over presidency from 1976 through 1980. 

1984

Renamed Hispanic National Bar Association

The organization was renamed the HISPANIC NATIONAL BAR ASSOCIATION (HNBA) and moved the organization offices to Washington, DC.

Documents

Minutes from the Mexican American Bar Association of California discussing the formation of La Raza lawyers Association which eventually became the HNBA.    

A Review of the History of the Hispanic National Bar Association – By Francisca Cota  

The Hispanic National Bar Association and the Need for Hispanic Lawyers – J. Clay Smith Jr.   

1992 HNBA Convention Magazine Cover.   

Hispanic National Bar panel meets president Salinas on Proposal Free Trade Agreement. 

Hispanic National Bar Association. A Validation of Worth. By the Honorable Francisca Cota, HNBA Historian.   

The Hispanic National Bar Association & Congressman Jose Serrano disclose gross under-representation of Hispanic Judges in the Nation’s Federal and State Courts. May 1992.   

 

HNBA PAST PRESIDENTS

Hon. Mario G. Obledo
Founder 1972-1977
Sacramento, CA

Hon. Benjamin Aranda III
Founder 1977-1980
Torrance, CA

John Roy Castillo
1980-1981
Lansing, MI

Robert Maes
1981-1982
Denver, CO

Hon. Lorenzo Arredondo
Founder
1982-1983
Denver, CO

Hon. Mari Carmen Aponte
1983-1984
Washington, DC

Gilbert F. Casellas
1984-1985
Washington, DC

Robert Mendez
1985-1986
Hollywood, CA

William Mendez
1986-1987
New York, NY

Michael Martinez
1987-1988
Murray, UT

Mark Gallegos
1988-1989
Miami, FL

Jimmy Gurule
1989-1990
New Haven, CT

Robert J. Ruiz
1990-1991
Chicago, IL

Dolores Atencio
1991-1992
Denver, CO

Carlos Ortiz
1992-1993
Secaucus, NJ

Wilfredo Caraballo
1993-1994
Newark, NJ

Mary T. Hernandez
1994-1995
San Francisco, CA

Jose Gaitan
1995-1996
Seattle, WA

Hugo Chaviano
1996-1997
Chicago, IL

Gregory Vega
1997-1998
San Diego, CA

Lillian Apodaca
1998-1999
Albuquerque, NM

Alice Velazquez
1999-2000
San Juan, PR

Rico Rafael Santiago
2000-2001
Hartford, CT

Angel G. Gomez
2001-2002
Chicago, IL

Duard D. Bradshaw
2002-2003
Akron, OH

Carlos Singh
2003-2004
San Jose, CA

Alan Varela
2004-2005
Santa Fe, NM

Nelson A. Castillo
2005-2006
Roslyn Heights, NY

Hon. Jimmie V.Reyna
2006-2007
Washington, DC

Victor M. Marquez
2007-2008
San Francisco,CA

Ramona E. Romero
2008-2009
Wilmington, DE

Roman D. Hernandez
2009-2010
Portland, OR

Diana Sen
2010-2011
New York, NY

Benny Agosto, Jr.
2011-2012
Houston, TX

Hon. Peter M. Reyes , Jr.
2012-2013
Minneapolis, MN

Miguel Alexander Pozo
2013-2014
Roseland, NJ

Cynthia D. Mares
2014-2015
Denver, CO

Robert T. Maldonado
2015-2016
New York, NY

Pedro Torres-Díaz
2016-2017
Miami, FL

Erica V. Mason
2017-2018
Atlanta, GA

Jennifer Salinas
2018-2019
Morrisville, NC

Irene Oria
2019-2020
Miami, FL

Elia Diaz-Yaeger
2020-2021
New Orleans, LA

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