(San Francisco, California, September 21, 2009) — The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) today announced that Chicana/Latina Foundation will honor NCLR attorney Lisa Cisneros with its 2009 Emerging Leadership Award. The Emerging Leadership Award is presented annually to young leaders committed to social justice and who have demonstrated their commitment with actions and deeds.

Cisneros joined NCLR as a Pride Law Fellow in the fall of 2007. She leads Proyecto Poderoso— Project Powerful—a collaborative effort by NCLR and California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA) aimed at improving legal services for low-income LGBTQ residents of rural California. Proyecto Poderoso is based in CRLA’s Salinas Valley office and is made
possible by a generous grant from Pride Law Fund’s Tom Steel Fellowship.

”I grew up in Salinas, and came out as a teenager here. I come from a Mexican-American family,” Cisneros says. “These personal experiences and the opportunity to help deliver much-needed services led me to take on this challenge. My parents taught me that if you want to see the world change for the better, you must jump in and do your part to change it.”

Proyecto Poderoso improves legal services to rural LGBTQ people by providing community education, building the expertise of CRLA attorneys and staff in the area of LGBTQ law, and directly providing legal services. The project also draws on support not only from NCLR and CRLA, but also from a network of individuals and organizations, including LGBTQ groups and allies, as well as Latino organizations. “NCLR is very proud to work in partnership with California Rural Legal Assistance to improve legal services for low-income LGBTQ residents of rural California, many of whom are agricultural workers without access to basic services. Lisa brings a unique passion and innovation to NCLR and her work is truly transformative, said NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell. “We are tremendously grateful to see Lisa acknowledged by the Chicana/Latina Foundation, a particularly important leader in providing opportunities and recognition for young women in California. We couldn’t agree more that she is an emerging leader who will help shape the next generation of the LGBTQ movement.”

Lisa Cisneros received her J.D. from UC Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall) in 2007. During law school, she worked as a judicial extern in federal court, and served as a law clerk at Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, as well as at NCLR. She was a member of Boalt Hall’s prestigious Death Penalty Clinic, and a senior editor for the California Law Review. Upon graduation, Cisneros received the Francine Diaz Memorial Award for her contributions to the Boalt community and public service. The Chicana/Latina Foundation will honor Cisneros with the Emerging Leadership Award at its Annual Scholarship Dinner, where they will also honor other women who demonstrate commitment to social justice. The awards ceremony and dinner will take place at the Palace Hotel on October 9, 2009.

For more information, please visit the Chicana/Latina Foundation website at http://www.chicanalatina.org/.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education. www.NCLRights.org.