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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 25, 2000


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Hispanic National Bar Association President-Elect to Speak at Judicial Branch Hispanic Heritage Celebration

HARTFORDHartford Attorney Rafael A. Santiago, President-Elect of the Hispanic National Bar Association, will offer the keynote address at the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch’s Third Annual Hispanic Heritage Celebration, Thursday, September 28, at the Legislative Office Building.

The event, which features lectures and seminars from local and national legal experts as well as an awards ceremony and musical performances, begins at 9 a.m. in the Atrium of the Legislative Office Building and is open to the public.

"This program provides a forum for celebrating the culture and contributions of this nation’s Hispanic population," said the Hon. Robert C. Leuba, Chief Court Administrator. "Through interesting and provocative lectures and a sampling of Hispanic music and cuisine, this celebration not only provides participants with educational and historical material but also with the chance to learn more about the culture."

Santiago, a member of Robinson & Cole’s Corporate, Institutional Finance and International Practice Groups, currently is President-Elect of the Hispanic

National Bar Association and a founding member and member of the Board of Directors of the Connecticut Hispanic Bar Association. He received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Tufts University in 1973 and his Master of Business Administration and Juris Doctor from the University of Connecticut in 1983.

Santiago will address the need for more Hispanic representation in the legal community, from attorneys, to state and federal judges, to the Justices of the United States Supreme Court.

"It is clear that the faces and the voices of Hispanic Americans will continue to shape this nation in the decades to come," said Santiago. "Latinos need to be aware and must continue to prepare for the leadership roles that they must undertake to continue forging the cultural, political and social landscape of the American society."

Following a continental breakfast from 9:30 to 10 a.m., the Hon. Carmen L. Lopez, Presiding Judge of Juvenile Matters in the Fairfield Judicial District and master of ceremonies for the event, will open the day’s program in Room 2C of the Legislative Office Building. Judge Leuba will then offer greetings and introduce the Hon. Carmen E. Espinosa, who will conduct the Awards Ceremony, in which three Judicial Branch employees will receive recognition.

Honorees are: Hilda Nieves, of Hartford, Chief Probation Officer, Manchester Supervision Unit of the Eastern Region; Carmen Echevarria of Norwich, Clerk, Juvenile Matters in Willimantic and Angel Acosta of Hamden, Assistant Juvenile Detention Supervisor in the Fairfield Judicial District.

Santiago will speak at 11 a.m. in Room 2C following an introduction by the Hon. Eddie Rodríguez, Jr., Presiding Judge, Criminal Division in the Fairfield Judicial District.

Following the keynote address, a buffet lunch will be served in the Museum of Connecticut History at 231 Capitol Avenue from noon until 1 p.m.

Afternoon workshops, beginning at 1:30 p.m. in Rooms A, B and C of the Legislative Office Building, include presentations by Judge Lopez, who will offer a comprehensive overview of the legal process regarding abused and neglected children in the juvenile court system; Felix M. Padilla, Ph.D., a native of Puerto Rico and visiting scholar in the Department of American Studies at Yale University, whose lecture is entitled, "We Need Culture to Save Our Children and Community"; Lili Palacios, Trial Attorney for the and a member of the Hispanic National Bar Association and President of its Northeast Region I, who will speak on the need for Latino lawyers, barriers for Latinos in getting through law school and the positive contributions of Latino lawyers in the United States.

From 2:30-3:30 p.m., the Hon. Antonio Robaina, a Superior Court Judge for Juvenile Matters in Hartford, will speak on the history of the U.S. embargo to Cuba while Ruth Glasser, Ph.D., an independent historian, will talk on the history of Puerto Rican farm workers in Connecticut.

During the celebration, Hartford area guitarists Carlos Hernández Chávez, a native of Mexico who has lived in Connecticut since 1967 and David Giardina, will provide various styles of Hispanic music.

For information, please contact Ginny Apple, Manager of Communications at 860-757-2270. For questions in general regarding attendance at the event, contact José René Martínez, Community Outreach Coordinator, at 860-757-2270.


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