Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Latino to Head Civil Rights Group in Southern California

On Monday, the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California named Hector Villagra, a civil rights attorney and the group’s current legal director, its next executive director to succeed Ramona Ripston.

“I know I have a tough job ahead of me, but we have a strong organization and strong support, and I fully expect that our success will continue,” Villagra said following his appointment.

Villagra, 42, will take office in February, and says he intends to take a stand against anti-immigrant legislation and voter initiatives that violate any civil rights.  He also vows to continue and expand the organizations service to “under-served and vulnerable communities,” including African Americans, Latinos, Muslims and gays.

“I understand full well the size of the shoes I’m being asked to fill. Ramona is really an icon in the Southern California civil rights community and beyond,” Villagra said.

Ripston, at 83 decided to step down last year to “clear the way for a rejuvenation of the liberal activist circles in Los Angeles.”  The veteran civil rights defender praised Villagra’s appointment.

She said he “combines agile and incisive legal thinking with deep compassion, tenaciousness and an unswerving dedication to the causes of civil liberties and civil rights.”

LA Times