A lifetime of pursuing justice for the LGBTQ and Latinx communities
On Jan. 22th, the Hispanic Bar Association (HBA) of Pennsylvania honored Romulo Díaz with the La Justicia Award for the decades he spent helping both communities advance.
After 30 years in law, Rómulo Díaz L. Jr, also known as “Romy” has achieved a lot, in and out of the courtroom.
He served as City´s Solicitor under Mayor John Street, was appointed assistant administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under the Clinton administration, and for the last decade - until his recent retirement earlier this year - served as Vice President and General Counsel for PECO.
Amidst everything, he used his Latinx voice and experience as the son of a Venezuelan and a Mexican immigrant to empower young Latinos. He turned being outed by The Washington Post in 1993 into a way to elevate the LGBTQ community and help future lawyers be seen and respected for more than their sexual orientation. Díaz also created the Irene Rivera Díaz scholarship, in honor of his mother, for law students in the Delaware Valley area.
For all this, The Hispanic Bar Association of Pennsylvania (HBAPA) presented Díaz with the La Justicia Award on Wednesday, Jan. 22.
Despite it all, Díaz remains humble and dodges the praise, instead crediting all the people who helped him along the way.
“If you ever see a turtle on the fence post, you know, he didn't get there by himself,” he said, changing the focus to the importance of recognizing that “we are where we are because others who were willing to lend a hand came before us.”
Others like Helen Hargrave, a University of Texas law professor, who lent him the money he needed to move to Washington D.C. after getting his first job there.
“When I tried to pay her interest on that loan with my first paycheck, she wouldn't take it,” he explained. “She said, ´just remember and help others along the way.’”
The heartwarming act gave Díaz even more of an input to help people around him and be the best mentor possible for future lawyers.
One of his mentees, Jennifer Gomez Hardy, took her oath as the new HBA Executive Board and President during the award ceremony.
Díaz confessed to being proud of her and promised to “continue to stand with you and this organization to make our community and our legal profession better.”