Press Release from the Hispanic National Bar Association: Pulling Participation in the 2015 Annual Convention

Contact: Alba Cruz-Hacker, HNBA Executive Director
[email protected]


The Hispanic National Bar Association Pulls its 2015 Annual Convention From Phoenix in Response to Arizona’s SB 1062

February 26, 2014

Washington, D.C. – The HNBA announced today that it has pulled its 40th Annual Convention previously scheduled for Phoenix, Arizona in September 2015.

On Monday, February 24th, the HNBA denounced the Arizona legislature’s passage of SB 1062. The HNBA also called for Governor Jan Brewer to veto the legislation and still hopes that she will do so. As set forth in its February 24th press release, SB 1062 discriminates against members of Arizona’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

The proposed legislation also impacts other citizens that are either traveling through Arizona or that are doing business or have business interests in the state. Accordingly, the HNBA’s Board of Governors voted unanimously to immediately pull the Annual Convention.

“The HNBA views this as a civil rights issue. As a national association of lawyers committed to promoting the ideals of equal protection, equal opportunity, tolerance, and inclusiveness, it is imperative that we speak up and take immediate action in the presence of injustice,” stated HNBA National President Miguel Alexander Pozo. As the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said more than 50 years ago, writing from a Birmingham, AL jail cell, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.“

As lawyers, we have sworn to uphold the United States Constitution as well as the laws of our respective states. “In our view, SB 1062 violates the Equal Protection and the Commerce Clauses of the U.S. Constitution, and offends the anti-discrimination protections found in Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,” said Mr. Pozo.

While the HNBA will remain steadfast, and stand in solidarity with our Affiliate Los Abogados and our HNBA members in Arizona, by taking this action we are sending a clear message to Arizona lawmakers. “Laws that return us to a darker time in the nation’s history simply cannot be tolerated. SB 1062 and SB 1070 are two such laws,” said Mr. Pozo. 

About the Hispanic National Bar Association

The Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) is an incorporated, not-for-profit, national membership association that represents the interests of Hispanic attorneys, judges, law professors, legal assistants, law students, and legal professionals in the United States and its territories. Since 1972, the HNBA has acted as a force for positive change within the legal profession by creating opportunities for Hispanic lawyers and by helping generations of lawyers to succeed. The HNBA has also effectively advocated on issues of importance to the national Hispanic community. While we are proud of our accomplishments, we are mindful that our mission is as vital today as it was four decades ago, especially as the U.S. Hispanic population continues to grow.

For more information, please visit


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                           February 27, 2014

Contact: Emily Chatterjee                                                   (202) 775-9555


Remains Vigilant As Similar Bills Are Proposed In Other States

WASHINGTON — Last night, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed SB 1062, legislation that would have enabled businesses to disregard municipal ordinances under the banner of religious freedom, and allowed them to discriminate against individuals who identify as LGBT.

“Governor Brewer’s decision to veto SB 1062 is a victory for everyone who opposes discrimination and supports the civil rights of all Americans, including those of our LGBT brothers and sisters, but it is disheartening that hateful legislation like this ever reached her desk,” said William J. Simonitsch, president of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA). “Religious claims have been asserted in the past to justify slavery, segregation, and bans on interracial marriage. On Tuesday, we sent the Governor and other Arizona leaders a letter outlining our opposition to this latest religious justification for discrimination. We let them know that if the Governor allowed SB 1062 to become law, NAPABA would consider relocating its Annual Convention in November out of Phoenix/Scottsdale.”

Were it not for Governor Brewer’s veto Wednesday evening, Arizona would have been the first state to enact legislation enabling corporations and individuals to deny services simply by asserting that they were acting because of a “sincerely held religious belief.” Supporters of the bill did not hide the fact that this bill targeted lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people. SB 1062 would have undercut the non-discrimination ordinances that include sexual orientation passed by several Arizona municipalities. Other states that are considering or have recently considered similar legislation include Kansas, Georgia, Tennessee, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Missouri, Ohio, and Idaho.

“We won this round, but we must remain vigilant in Arizona and elsewhere because many states have contemplated or are contemplating bills similar in nature to SB 1062, and may do so again in the future,” said Arizona attorney George C. Chen, president-elect of NAPABA. “Religious freedom is important, but discrimination under the guise of religious freedom is not acceptable anywhere in our nation. At the same time, we need to support the work of many cities in Arizona (including Phoenix, Tucson, and Flagstaff) that have passed non-discrimination ordinances regarding sexual orientation. Individuals, corporations, professional organizations, and many others in these communities strongly opposed SB 1062, and it was in large part due to their efforts that pressure was brought to bear on Governor Brewer.”


The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the national association of Asian Pacific American attorneys, judges, law professors, and law students. NAPABA represents the interests of over 40,000 attorneys and 67 national, state, and local Asian Pacific American bar associations. Its members include solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal service and non-profit attorneys, and lawyers serving at all levels of government. NAPABA continues to be a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American communities. Through its national network of committees and affiliates, NAPABA provides a strong voice for increased diversity of the federal and state judiciaries, advocates for equal opportunity in the workplace, works to eliminate hate crimes and anti-immigrant sentiment, and promotes the professional development of people of color in the legal profession.