Mountain View, CA (September 2, 2015) – Fenwick & West is pleased to announce that Fenwick-sponsored Equal Justice Works Fellow Angelica Salceda has completed her two-year fellowship. Salceda worked with the ACLU of Northern California and made significant strides toward education equality for pregnant and parenting students in California’s Central Valley through advocacy, litigation and organizing.
“Fenwick provided me with an invaluable opportunity to kick-start my public interest career,” Salceda said. “Thanks to the fellowship, I was able to serve pregnant and parenting students throughout California’s San Joaquin Valley, and ensure that they had the same educational opportunities as other students.”
Central Valley is home to six out of 10 California counties with the highest teen birth rates. Pregnant and parenting students often encounter institutional barriers that inhibit their ability to perform academically such as a lack of childcare and lactation accommodations, as well as harsh absence policies. Seventy percent of teen mothers drop out of school and as a result, face an increased risk for unemployment and poverty.
During her fellowship, Salceda collected previously unavailable data on more than 150 teen parents, conducted know-your-rights workshops, advocated for programs in local school districts, and assisted students with re-enrollment.
She also helped advocate for Assembly Bill 302, which mandates schools provide accommodations for parents to breastfeed at school. The bill passed the Assembly, and is before the Senate Appropriations committee.
“I am most proud of the fact that my fellowship produced much-needed legislation to ensure that parenting students have a right to a private, secure location to breastfeed or pump while at school,” Salceda said.
“I am privileged to apply my legal skills to help create an environment where these young adults can thrive as both parents and students,” she said. “I am excited by the progress we’ve made and look forward to continuing to drive improvement in this area.”
Salceda is one of two Equal Justice Works Fellows that Fenwick supported in the past two years. The fellowships are awarded by the nonprofit Equal Justice Works to highly competent lawyers who have designed creative legal initiatives to address issues in at-risk communities. With support from committed sponsors like Fenwick & West, the fellows receive competitive salaries and other benefits over two years.
“I am proud to say that all our Equal Justice Works Fellows who we have sponsored in the past have continued their careers in public interest, even after they’ve ended their fellowship,” Fenwick managing partner Kate Fritz said. “The fellowship program is something that really gives them a jump start that they might not otherwise have.”
Other Fenwick fellows have served a variety of populations from veterans to low-wage workers to immigrants. As a firm, Fenwick also holds a significant commitment to pro bono work and enabling all to access justice. In the past five years, Fenwick attorneys and staff have logged almost 50,000 pro bono hours valued at close to $20,000,000 in legal fees.
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