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Placement: Congressman Xavier Becerra (CA-31)

Hometown: Biscoe, North Carolina

Education: North Carolina Central University School of Law, J.D. St. Andrews Presbyterian College, B.S. in Social Sciences Central Carolina Community College. A.A. in Paralegal Technology

A North Carolina native, Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) Law Fellow Angélica Reza is right at home with her placement — the office of California Congressman Xavier Becerra (CA-31). Their hometowns may be miles apart, but the issues crossing Angélica’s desk today mirror those she encountered in her back yard growing up.

Angélica’s parents were migrant farm workers who settled in North Carolina. From a young age, she witnessed the need to advocate for underrepresented communities. Now a college and law school graduate, the Fellow is in a position to help constituents of Los Angeles, including immigrant farm workers similar to her own parents. In Congressman Becerra’s office, she is also responsible for directly advising the Congressman on issues regarding education, Congressional tributes, and the arts.

“It is an honor to meet with constituents,” says Angélica, “who care so much about a particular issue that they are willing to travel all the way from Los Angeles to D.C. to express their concerns.”

In the spring of 2006 Angélica received her Jurist Doctor from North Carolina Central University School of Law (NCCU). Her time there was spent not only balancing a full load of studies, but also engaging in a plethora of extracurricular activities. She was instrumental in reviving the then-defunct Hispanic Law Student Association and raising its membership to an all-time high. As part of this endeavor, she helped plan and organize a seminar that addressed a critical issue affecting immigrants within North Carolina’s criminal justice system — “Crime and Punishment: Immigration Consequences of Criminal Convictions.”

In addition, Angélica assisted in the planning and organization of the Election Protection Program for the 2004 presidential election under the Just Democracy organization. Continuing her work with underserved communities, she helped plan and organize “Crime and the Minority Community”, a seminar seeking community-based solutions for disproportionate crime rates in minority communities.

As Hurricane Katrina wrought devastation the following year, Angélica planned and organized “Road Trip with a Cause,” a spring break alternative that provided legal services to residents of New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward. This endeavor earned her NCCU’s H.M. “Mickey” Michaux Award for Public Service.

A Senior Editor for NCCU’s Law Journal, NCCU research assistant and legal research assistant for the Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Angélica also co-founded the Sandhills Paralegal Association, Inc., an association providing networking and educational opportunities to paralegals. Additionally, she is the founder of Ayudando Latinos a Superarse, an organization that assists non-English speaking Hispanics to become self-sufficient. Angélica is a Fall 2004 North Carolina Institute of Political Leadership Fellow.

Currently, Angélica is embracing her professional experience in Washington D.C. She is devoting special attention to the Librarian Incentive to Boost Recruitment and Retention in Areas of Need Act of 2007 (LIBRARIAN), writing press releases and helping to draft speeches for Congressman Becerra.