LatinoJustice attorney resigns after accusations of lying about her identity
Natasha Lycia Ora Bannan, an attorney for the Latino community, resigned from her position after being accused of lying about her identity went viral.
Over the weekend of Jan. 9, many media outlets were ablaze with discussions about the identity of attorney and advocate for the Latino community part of LatinoJustice, Natasha Lycia Ora Bannan.
Bannan has allegedly claimed to have Colombian and Puerto Rican heritage, which she has since denied, claiming to be a white woman with non-Hispanic roots.
The organization, whose mission is to protect human rights, promote Latino leaders and increase civic participation, has issued an official statement regarding the situation and the lawyer's resignation.
— LatinoJustice PRLDEF (@latinojustice) January 10, 2021
LatinoJustce's attorneys works on issues of economic exploitation and employment discrimination against low-wage Latinos and immigrants, as well as legal support for the economic and humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico. In addition, they address issues such as self-determination and decolonization processes, gender justice, and immigrant rights.
After Bannan accepted the accusations about her identity and affirmed that her origins are not Latino, the organization stated: "We cannot accept actions that displace Latinos and Latinas, even within our own movement. These acts conflict with LatinoJustice's mission and values."
In the midst of the scandal, Natasha Bannan resigned from her position and explained to her decision to social media.
"My decision to choose a life dedicated to seeing a free Puerto Rico, a Colombia that values peace, and a region that rejects imperialism and colonialism is how I honor my family and my community," she wrote.
But even though Bannan's intentions have been on the right side, her actions have not:
"When people appropriate these spaces, again colonialism and racism stand out. As good as her intentions are, our reality belongs to those of us who live it here every day. Their action robs the Puerto Rican community of opportunities to have our perspective represented in spheres where decisions are made that impact us every day," said Lorraine Liriano-Chávez, an educator and activist.