October 13, 2016

LOS ANGELES, CA - MALDEF President and General Counsel Thomas A. Saenz and former President and General Counsel Vilma S. Martinez today issued the following statements in response to the passing of Jack Greenberg, a crusading civil rights attorney who served as the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund’s Director-Counsel from 1961 to 1984, and was instrumental in helping establish MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund).

"MALDEF mourns the loss of civil rights hero Jack Greenberg. Our organizational debt to Greenberg is incalculable," said Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF president and general counsel. "His understanding of the nation’s need for an organization like MALDEF, and his generous introduction and recommendation to the Ford Foundation made it possible for MALDEF to open its doors 48 years ago. Of course, his contribution to MALDEF’s founding is just one of many, many accomplishments and services that define the truly iconic civil rights career of Jack Greenberg. The nation has lost an extraordinary champion of justice."

"Jack Greenberg was an inspired and effective advocate for the civil rights of African Americans, Latinos and indeed, all Americans," said Vilma S. Martinez, who served as MALDEF president and general counsel from 1973 to 1982. "For me, he was a wonderful mentor and friend. For MALDEF, he was a founder and inspiration."

Founded in 1968, MALDEF is the nation's leading Latino legal civil rights organization. Often described as the "Latino Legal Voice for Civil Rights in America" MALDEF promotes social change through advocacy, communications, community education, and litigation in the areas of education, employment, immigrant rights, and political access. For more information on MALDEF, please visit:

Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund