MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund)

by Daniel Chavez
The MY HERO Project

MALDEF logo (
MALDEF logo (

Not many people worry about the legal or civil rights of Mexican Americans or Latinos in general, that is the reason there are so many injustices occurring in today’s society. Truth is, our country is entirely made up of immigrants therefore it is not fair to say that only Mexicans are illegal. Being from an immigrant family, I sympathize a lot with the situations that many Mexican Americans go through daily and I am grateful to see when we help one another. It is thanks to organizations like the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) that Latinos are able to succeed and live comfortably in this beautiful country many of us call home.

Often described as the “law firm of the Latino community”, MALDEF was founded in 1968. It is the United States’ leading Latino legal civil rights organization. It promotes social change through advocacy, communications, community education, and legal action in areas like education, employment, immigrant rights, and political access. One of MALDEF’s main objectives is to put into operation programs that will allow Latinos to join the mainstream of American political and socio-economic life. They look to give Latinos a better opportunity with regards to education and encourage participation in all aspects of society, thus offering a more successful outlook for the future.

Eva Longoria and MALDEF President Thomas Saenz (
Eva Longoria and MALDEF President Thomas Saenz (

MALDEF is headed by President and General Counsel Thomas Saenz who is backed by a 30-member national Board of Directors who govern the organization. It has five regional offices in Los Angeles, San Antonio, Atlanta, Chicago, and Washington D.C., with its headquarters located in Los Angeles. Under MALDEF, there is the MALDEF Property Management Corporation (MPMC), which is a non-profit organization that manages the building, which serves as the National Headquarters and Los Angeles regional Offices for MALDEF. The MPMC also serves as a unique professional environment for other non-profit organizations that provide support to minorities and other underserved communities.

As a national organization, MALDEF hosts the annual Latino State of the Union policy roundtable and five annual regional Awards Galas. These Awards Galas serve as a way for MALDEF to recognize individuals, corporations, and law firms who have been a key part to the advancement in justice for Latinos and to highlight the organizations dedication to serving the Latino community. Their focus in education is another reason why MALDEF is such a great organization. As it reads on their website “A quality education is a child’s portal to professional success, societal integration, and personal achievement” (MALDEF). Since it was founded, MALDEF has stuck behind this belief and will continue to do so to make sure that all students, regardless of income, nationality, or language skills, have an equal opportunity to the numerous forms of education that this country offers.

MALDEF President Thomas Saenz and supporters (
MALDEF President Thomas Saenz and supporters (

MALDEF is an awesome organization that has already done so much for the Latino community. There are many ways we can contribute to them, thus helping our fellow Latinos in need. With a monetary donation, we can help create a more open society and help develop the leaders of tomorrow. Since MALDEF’s efforts extend even to the smallest and most marginalized communities in the country, any contribution, as small as it may be, will be of enormous benefit to the organization and the people. Any unrestricted donation given to MALDEF’s Annual Fund will go towards its efforts of litigation, community outreach, educational programming, and public policy work. It is organizations like MALDEF that make our world a better place. All the people who work there make a difference every day, which comes to show that anybody can be a hero. You just have to go out and work towards a good cause, help those in need, and know that you have given it your all every single day. A million thanks to MALDEF for their wonderful efforts and best of luck in what is to come.

Page created on 8/3/2014 11:31:25 AM

Last edited 1/5/2017 7:04:47 PM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.

Related Links

MALDEF - The Latino Legal Voice for Civil Rights in America
MALDEF Education - Providing Access to a Quality Education
Make a donation - Support MALDEF and contribute to their cause
Latino Environmental Activists - Read about other Latino organizations on MY HERO

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