Statement from Juan Cartagena on Recent Reports About Natasha Lycia Ora Bannan
Recent reporting about one of our staff members, Senior Counsel Natasha Bannan, has surfaced a number of issues that concern us. We start from the premise, however, that our values at LatinoJustice PRLDEF place our collective humanity at the center of all interactions with our community, our clients and our staff. Restoration and compassion are the aims of our social and professional encounters, and we will be guided as such.
The revelations in the recent reporting refer to events that both precede and include Ms. Bannan’s tenure at LatinoJustice. Like many people who appreciate Ms. Bannan’s rich trajectory of work for human and civil rights we made assumptions based on that body of work. Personal identity and cultural affinity are evolving concepts in our times and in that regard we will address those issues with our colleague, Natasha. The attorneys at LatinoJustice represent racially diverse backgrounds, from the moment we opened our doors in 1972 to the present. They, like Natasha Bannan, have had an excellent reputation in advancing the claims of our clients and the causes that we pursue as a civil rights organization.
As demanded by our mission and values, however, we cannot condone appropriation and substitution by others of the spaces that are legitimately reserved with a preference for Latinas as defined by those sponsoring entities. To that end we will engage in a process to learn more about the episodes cited in the reporting and others that may come to light. Such a process will be guided by the values we have consistently adopted at our organization for a work environment that promotes dignity and accountability.