Efrén Olivares advocates for equal treatment at TSC Constitution Day - Brownsville Herald: Education

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Efrén Olivares advocates for equal treatment at TSC Constitution Day

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Posted: Monday, September 23, 2019 6:00 pm

Efrén Olivares is a man of strong convictions, especially when it comes to legal representation of marginalized communities in the United States. He has made it his mission to provide the highest quality legal services to those who can least afford it.

Olivares’ keynote presentation highlighted a daylong schedule of Constitution Day events Sept. 17 at Texas Southmost College.

“It’s a perfect day to remember the values our constitution enshrines,” said Olivares. “Democracy, equality, justice before the law are things we see attacked today. Due process and the idea that we are all equal before the law is not very true because the protections you get under the law depend, unfortunately, on where you are born, on the color of your skin, and on your particular situation.”

Olivares is the director of the Racial and Economic Justice Program at the Texas Civil Rights Project, and has worked in TCRP’s South Texas office since 2013.

During his presentation at TSC, Olivares highlighted the challenges faced in providing legal representation for migrants seeking asylum in the U.S. and the sometimes-daunting task of assisting these individuals with reunification and citizenship.

“Every human being should receive the best possible legal representation for whatever problem they have, regardless of their ability to pay, or their national origin, or race, or gender, or ethnicity,” said Olivares.

Olivares’ work with the Texas Civil Rights Project focuses on fighting bias against individuals in minority demographics to ensure people from all lifestyles have the same opportunities and receive equal treatment by U.S. laws and institutions.

“I’m happy to share the work we do because not everyone knows we’re right next door,” said Olivares. “Not everybody knows what’s happening and the issues we are trying to tackle.”

At the conclusion of his keynote presentation, Olivares hoped attendees understood that when their government takes action, it does so on behalf of the entire country as a representative government.

“We need to ensure that we have representatives at all levels of government who truly represent who we are,” said Olivares.

“This was our largest and best Constitution Day celebration to date, and we are excited to have had distinguished civil rights attorney Efrén Olivares participate as our keynote speaker,” said Dr. Brian McCormack, TSC dean of humanities. “We had great attendance at all of our Constitution Day events and our students and community members enjoyed and benefited from each of the presentations offered.”

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