APILSA Named Student Organization of the Year

May 12, 2020
Members of APILSA at UCLA Law visited the Ninth Circuit courthouse in Pasadena
Members of APILSA at UCLA Law visited the Ninth Circuit courthouse in Pasadena in October 2019. On May 2, the group was named Student Organization of the Year.

The Asian/Pacific Islander Law Students Association was named 2020 Student Organization of the Year at UCLA School of Law’s sixth annual Student Leadership Breakfast, which streamed live on May 2.

In presenting the award to APILSA co-chairs Constance Chan ’21 and Brendan Pratt ’21, Student Bar Association President Alyson Tocicki ’20 said that the group’s vast array of programs and advocacy efforts stood out in a year when UCLA Law students submitted a record number of nominations.

APILSA members join Ninth Circuit Judge Jacqueline Nguyen ’91 in her chambers in October 2019.
APILSA members join Ninth Circuit Judge Jacqueline Nguyen ’91 in her chambers in October 2019.

Among other initiatives, APILSA hosted a phonathon supporting improved voting access for immigrants, redistricting reform and restrictions on private prisons that profit from deportation. Members of the group visited the chambers of Judge Jacqueline Nguyen ’91 of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, a UCLA Law alumna who was the first Asian-American woman to serve on the federal appellate bench. They organized Mimosas and Affirmations events for survivors of sexual assault. And they mobilized a campaign to address xenophobia and racism in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, drafting an open letter that drew national support and will be published in two academic journals.

Five graduating students were honored with the 2020 UCLA Law Enhancement Award for their substantial contributions to the law school.

Tocicki, Davies and other outgoing SBA board members — John Rigby ’20 (external vice president), David Polyakov ’21 (treasurer) and Madison Way ’21 (secretary) — were honored for their outstanding service. Way will return as vice president for the 2020-21 school year, with incoming president Adrian Rios ’21.

Distinguished alumna Marisa Hernández-Stern ’10, president of the Mexican American Bar Association and one of the state’s leading civil rights advocates, offered inspirational remarks. She is a deputy attorney general in the Worker Rights and Fair Labor Bureau of the California Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Enforcement Section, and she previously won a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award from the UCLA Academic Senate for her outstanding work.

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