Founded in 1968, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) has a mission of advancing the civil rights of Latinos in the United States. Its unique three-pronged strategy for civil rights advancement combines advocacy, community education and litigation. Its advocacy includes efforts and partnerships around critical civil rights issues affecting Latinos at the local, state, and federal levels. Its community education includes programs such as MALDEF’s Parent School Partnership Program, which trains Latino parents how to become change agents within their children’s schools. MALDEF’s legal victories include its litigation establishing the right of any child to a public education; its litigation defeating California’s Proposition 187, which sought to deny Latino immigrants a range of social services and basic civil rights; and more recently, its First Amendment litigation defeating local ordinances barring Latino day laborers from soliciting employment.
MALDEF currently operates regional and program offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Antonio, and Washington, D.C., with headquarters in Los Angeles.
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