Hispanic Bar Association of Pennsylvania hosting 30th annual Scholarship Reception event
The 30th annual event will provide seven diverse law students with thousands of dollars worth of scholarships.
When the Hispanic Bar Association of Pennsylvania (HBAPA) was founded in the mid 1970s, the mission of providing useful resources to help the social, economic, professional, and educational advancement of Latino & Hispanic attorneys, law students, and community members has always remained at the forefront.
Thirty years ago, the organization started hosting an annual scholarship dinner event for law students from across the region.
“A lot of minority students, Hispanics included, who may get to law school are the first in their family to make it to law school or are from modest means,” said James P. Faunes, vice president of the Hispanic Bar Association of Pennsylvania and president of the association’s Legal Education Fund.
“So, it started, certainly as an opportunity, not only to provide some additional funding, but also to help create that mentor relationship that’s really important to success in the practice,” he added.
This year, seven students will be awarded with scholarships: Gustavo Cardona from University of Pennsylvania; Anthony Leon from Drexel University; Brittney Martinez from Temple University; Monica Matias from Villanova University; and Natima Neily, Jenise Rivera, and Christian Velez-Vargas from Rutgers University.
The scholars are chosen based on the criteria of academic achievement, but also commitment to community and financial need. The HBAPA prides itself on helping ease some of the financial burden that many law students face that may interfere with some components of their academic pursuits.
“We think it goes a long way, and we really value the opportunity to support them every year,” said Faunes.
Each year during this event, the association honors an individual who are lawyers, or individuals who serve as a voice for Hispanic professionals.
This year, Yvette Núñez, vice president of civic affairs at The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia, will be that honoree. She is the first Latina to serve in a senior leadership role in the history of the Chamber.
“We really wanted to have an opportunity to highlight someone who’s maybe outside of the lawyer community, but still very connected to the community, and someone that would allow us to be more diverse in the types of role models that we’re introducing to our law students,” said Faunes.
In addition, each year a keynote speaker provides an address to the audience. This year, Gisele Fetterman, second lady of Pennsylvania, will give the keynote address. Faunes highlighted her compelling nature as what makes her such a great candidate.
“She’s just a really compelling person with a compelling story, and somebody that we think, frankly, everyone will be proud to hear from and feel fired up about her story and about how much success she’d had,” he said.
Overall, the event will show the true value of diversity within not only the law profession, but any profession.
“I think, diversity and inclusion are meritorious, sort of in their own right,” said Faunes. “It’s important that access to these professions begins to reflect the communities that we profess to represent.
While that has long not been the case for many organizations, the HBAPA is one of those organizations that remains committed to providing that representation, and serving as a marketplace for diverse viewpoints and ideas.
“It’s an incredible opportunity to recognize and elevate and highlight some of the accomplishments of our future leaders here in the Hispanic Bar Association of Pennsylvania,” said Faunes.
The Hispanic Bar Association’s 30th annual scholarship dinner will take place Oct. 17, 2019 from 5:30pm to 9:30pm at The Lucy in Philadelphia.