HNBA Voting Rights Fellow To Advance Latino Voting Rights

July 6, 2011

New York, NY – The Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) announced the appointment of Juan Carlos Ibarra as the organization’s first Voting Rights Fellow.  The Voting Rights Fellow will work with Joaquin G. Avila, who is the head of the HNBA’s Voting Rights Section and Director of Seattle University School of Law’s National Voting Rights Advocacy Initiative.  Mr. Ibarra will help implement the HNBA’s redistricting program to educate the Latino community about the legal standards of redistricting to ensure fair representation of Latinos in the electoral process.  The program works to empower HNBA and community members to testify before redistricting commissions and other bodies throughout their states to advocate for fair redistricting that will enable the Latino community to elect candidates of their choice.

Mr. Ibarra, a recent graduate from Columbia University Law School, comes to the HNBA with election law experience that includes educating state legislators about the redistricting process, researching minority voting rights, and working with the U.S. Department of Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division Voting Section in Washington, DC.

As HNBA’s Voting Rights Fellow, Mr. Ibarra will help disseminate information through the HNBA website. The website will provide guidance to local HNBA affiliates and attorney members about the 2011 redistricting of congressional, state legislative and local election districts. It will also explain the redistricting process and legal standards, and provide practical pointers on whether to initiate litigation filed pursuant to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, 42 U.S.C. § 1973.

“We are at a defining moment in redistricting that comes once every 20 years when a presidential election coincides with redistricting.  By hiring its first voting rights fellow and launching its redistricting program, the HNBA is empowering our community to elect candidates of its choice across the country,” said Diana Sen, HNBA National President.

“Juan Carlos comes to us at a critical time and will play an essential role in the development of the Voting Section’s website,” added Joaquin G. Avila, the HNBA Voting Rights Chair.  “Through its website the HNBA will leverage expertise and resources to assist local Latino community efforts to achieve access to the political process.  The decade of 2010 to 2020 will be known as the decade of Latino political empowerment.”

The 2011 redistricting cycle provides an opportunity for making the political process more accessible to the Latino community.  Local HNBA affiliates and attorney members can monitor the drawing of district boundaries and advocate for the adoption of redistricting plans that do not have a discriminatory effect on Latino voting strength.

Diana Sen
(646) 320-8240,