Kazan Law is proud to announce that our partner and colleague Francis “Frank” E. Fernandez has been honored by San Francisco La Raza Centro Legal, a group he helped found in 1973 while he was still in law school. La Raza Centro Legal is a community-based legal organization dedicated to empowering Latino, immigrant and low-income communities of San Francisco to advocate for their civil and human rights, combining legal services, organizing, advocacy, and social services to build grassroots power and alliances towards creating a movement for a just society.
The nonprofit organization’s new Frank Fernandez Endowment was announced at their 41st Anniversary Gala, an event co-sponsored by the Kazan Law Foundation. “The Frank Fernandez Endowment will allow us to hire an immigration attorney fellow in the coming year. Such is only possible because of the many donors who believe in our work and more importantly believe in honoring our founder Frank Fernandez,” said Carlos Osorio, La Raza’s Senior Law Program Coordinator. “We are truly honored that the Frank Fernandez Immigration Attorney Fellow will be possible.
Back in the old days, Frank was a labor lawyer working with the United Farm Workers of America, the group started by Cesar Chavez in the 1960s to support and empower Latino agricultural field workers. Frank’s experience working with the UFW and the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board, the AFL-CIO, and the California Department of Occupational Health & Safety (Cal-OSHA), showed me he was a lawyer who like me also was passionate about protecting the rights of workers to work in safe healthy work environments., someone who not only would fight for justice for workers when their rights were violated but who also was skilled enough to win.
I knew Frank was a great fit for the kind of firm that we were trying to build. And I was right. I did not realize then that by 2014, Latinos for would become California’s largest ethnic group, making up 39% of the state’s population, but that only 4.2% of the state’s lawyers would be Latino, as the California State Bar reported in a recent diversity study. Diversity has always been one of the firm’s goals. We believe that our staff should reflect the people we serve.
I am proud of all that Frank has accomplished on behalf of victims of asbestos exposure through his work at Kazan Law. I am equally proud of his pioneering work on behalf of the Latino community in his founding and ongoing work with La Raza Centro Legal and of the support he has received from Kazan Law’s foundation for this vital organization.