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July 21st, 2020 

Contact: Elianne Ramos; Chief Communications Officer; [email protected]; 212.739.7513

Statement Of Juan Cartagena, President & General Counsel At Latinojustice, On The Deadly Attack To The Family OfJudge Esther Salas

On behalf of all of us at LatinoJustice PRLDEF I extend our sincere condolences to the Hon. Esther Salas for the loss of her son, Daniel Anderl, during a deadly shooting attack at her home this past weekend which left her husband, Mark Anderl, seriously wounded as well. We cannot begin to imagine the pain and grief that Judge Salas is undergoing at this time and can only hope that she and her family can find the space and the time to heal.

Judge Esther Salas is a respected and accomplished member of our Latino community in New Jersey. She is a mainstay of the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey, one that consistently supports the pipeline of Latinas and Latinos into the legal profession. Indeed, her own career path from the federal defender’s office to U.S. Magistrate Judge to U.S. District Court Judge is a testament to her vision, her resolve and her perseverance against all odds as a Latina attorney.

To that end, we denounce the reports during this early and preliminary stage of the criminal investigation that the attacker and prime suspect stalked Judge Salas because of her gender and her ethnicity. The prime suspect denounced the appointment of a Latina judge by the country’s first African-American president because she presided over his case in 2015. He claimed that the only reason she got ahead was because of affirmative action – as if preferences in college admissions don’t exist. Adding additional slurs about her performance, he apparently seethed that she would control the fate of one of his many lawsuits to protect men in America against feminists.

At face value, these beliefs when converted into gun violence are the product of an apparently deranged mind. But in today’s climate when racist and misogynist pronouncements are rarely, if ever, denounced by the President, they linger, they become sustained, they become enabling.

For over four decades, LatinoJustice PRLDEF has improved the pipeline to law school and beyond. Judge Esther Salas is an exemplary model of achievement and hard-work. In this moment, she deserves time and space that allows any measure of restoration. She deserves praise, not the horrific attack she sustained. She deserves our solidarity, our abrazos, our love.

But what our country deserves is leadership, compassion, and a denunciation of hate.