Today, the Hispanic Issues Section (HIS) of the State Bar of Texas announced Marisa Bono as this year's recipient of the Pete Torres Public Service Award!!!
His awards the Pete Torres Public Service accolade yearly at the State Bar Convention to an individual or organization who has demonstrated a history of service and commitment to the Hispanic community. Learning Marisa had received the award... took me back to Dad's last speech to the St. Mary's Hispanic Law Alumni Association exactly one year before his passing.
In it, he said, "Make it your personal legend to work for an immigration policy that gives those searching for the American dream the same or better opportunities as we were given," noting that so many right-wingers at the time were speaking about immigrant crimes in America while failing to mention the many immigrants who came to this Country and became useful, productive citizens and who fought bravely in America's wars.
"To deny these individuals opportunities," he said, "is wrong." In this same speech, Dad also spoke on how women had changed the landscape of the legal profession, reiterating Justice Alma Lopez' story on how, when she first started practicing law, there were only four female attorneys in Bexar County. "Today," he said, "our legal landscape is graced with beautiful, aggressive, and intelligent women who can and do outsmart the best of their male counterparts."
If Dad were alive today, I know he would want no one other than Marisa Bono to receive this award for the super hero, super efforts she has undertaken in the interests of our Latino and immigrant communities -- not only to protect those communities but to ensure opportunity and promote the American dream.
He'd also want her to receive this award because in a time when both our National and State lawmakers are doing everything they can to crush the rights of minorities, women, and the disenfranchised, this beautiful and brilliant human being has selflessly stepped up to the plate -- not only demonstrating a history of service and commitment to the Hispanic community, but a fierce determination to protect it.
Thank you for all that you do, Marisa, and for all that you are. Felicidades!!