Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Monday, November 8, 2010


Page 3


Mayor, Local ACLU Director Honored at MALDEF Gala


By a MetNews Staff Writer


The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, known as MALDEF, has honored Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa, ACLU of Southern California Executive Director Ramona Ripston and singer José Rómulo Sosa Ortiz, for their long-standing commitments to the Latino community.

The organization presented Villaraigosa with its Excellence in Government Service Award, which “honors a person with great leadership abilities who seeks to bring about societal change for the benefit of underserved and underrepresented communities,” at a gala Thursday night, a MALDEF spokesperson said.

Ripston was given the Excellence in Legal Service Award in recognition of her “exemplary defense of the legal rights of Latinos and for using her expertise and influence to improve the legal standing of our community’s members,” and, Ortiz—popularly known as José José was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award for his “unparalleled cultural impact,” the spokesperson added.

In accepting his award, Villaraigosa praised MALDEF for having been “at the forefront of the civil rights movement” for over 40 years, opining that “none of us would be where we are today without the tenacity, dedication and compassion MALDEF brings to every lawsuit it files, every community it supports and every scholarship it provides.”

Ripston commented that her recognition was “truly one of the highlights of [her] career,” and that it was “particularly meaningful” since the ACLU has “been on the same side as MALDEF in so many struggles.”

Ortiz said he was “honored and humbled” to be recognized “by the leading voice on Latino issues,” remarking that “it has been a great privilege for me and a blessing from God to share my gift through the universal language of music.”


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