2007 Recipients

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Where presented : 
NLADA Annual Conference
Recipient(s) name: 
Amelia Nieto, Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles; Peggy Santos, Massachussetts
Reason for selection of recipient(s): 

Nieto has a widespread and distinguished reputation among the region’s poorest residents and a deep commitment to the low-income community. Nieto’s familiarity with current client issues comes largely from her responsibility as the director of Centro Shalom, a grassroots organization in Long Beach. In a small office with a team of community volunteers, she operates Centro Shalom as an urban “campesino center,” a concept she learned as a United Farm Workers staffer. Her office assists some 1,200 documented and undocumented
people a month, confronting hunger, eviction, family problems and immigration issues.

Nieto’s total submersion in the delivery of community-based emergency services to large numbers of lowincome people has qualified her as an invaluable and unparalleled source of both information and inspiration to Legal Aid staff.

“Amelia has the ability to bring the plight of the neediest among us to light,” said Karen Adelseck, chair of the LAFLA Client Council. “Amelia has touched and helped numerous lives through her work and passion at Centro Shalom and LAFLA.”

Mary Ellen Hamilton Award Winner Peggy Santos is a board member for the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (MLAC). Santos has been involved in social justiceactivities for more than 35 years, more than 25 of these in legal services activities.
She was instrumental in creating the MLAC client steering committee and helped to design the steering committee training manual. She has testified before the LSC board of directors on client issues and works with community organizations in collaboration with legal
services programs on issues that impact the quality of life for low-income people.

As a board member for the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute (MLRI), Santos served as a persistent voice for advocacy through many different forums and strategies. She not only pressed for low-income people to have access to attorneys, she was also a strong voice for client empowerment. She pushed legal services to provide trainings for and with low-income people. She urged the production of more community level education and personally distributed these materials. At the national level, she played an important role in making
sure clients were involved in shaping legal services’ priorities and protecting legal services from attacks.

“At every turn, Peggy has worked to get low-income people in her community information and training that will empower them” said Annette R. Duke, housing attorney with the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute. “Peggy has given her time and energy to so many projects,
so many efforts, and so many struggles – many of which have involved strengthening legal services. At her core, she values learning and is an incredible learner herself. It is what makes Peggy an incredible and life-long leader."