2007 Recipient

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Where presented : 
NLADA Annual Conference
Recipient(s) name: 
Mona Tawatao
Recipient organization: 
Legal Services of Northern California (LSNC)
Recipient organization city: 
Recipient organization state: 
Reason for selection of recipient(s): 

As an advocate for legal services, Tawatao has developed a national reputation for her groundbreaking advocacy on housing preservation and race equity initiatives. In 2003, Tawatao was the moving force responsible for convening a legal services retreat on race equity advocacy. Using the latest data, social science theory, as well as nuts and bolts advocacy tools, she challenged LSNC staff and the broader public interest community to assess all substantive work as a vehicle to close the opportunity gaps which divide our communities along racial lines. To her clients she is a trusted voice and resource. She also understands that for a community organizing effort to be successful, it must rest squarely on the shoulders of her clients. The decisions and responsibility must be their own.

“These five individuals strive every day to make a difference in the lives of people in need,” said NLADA President & CEO Jo-Ann Wallace. “They have proactively stepped forward to create systems and programs that both benefit the low-income community and engage them in the delivery of services. Whether it is by acting as legal counsel; helping to secure positive and fair change in the laws and policies of our local, state and federal governments; or acting as advocate and a steadfast ally to those without the ability to protect themselves, Stuart, Mona, Amelia, Peggy, and Bennett and the Public Defender’s Office of the 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida are true champions for equal justice. They fight each day, with great success, to ensure that the promise of fair and equal justice is available to everyond today.”