Noche de Amor Spotlight: Featured Speaker Bernice “bere” Espinoza

1 min read. We're pleased to announce that poet and civil rights lawyer Bernice Espinoza will be our featured speaker at June 8th's Noche de Amor - A Benefit for Health Justice.

We are extremely happy to announce that on June 8, the Healthcare Foundation’s annual Noche de Amor community celebration will include an address by Bernice “bere” Espinoza. 

A poet, activist, advocate, first-generation American and college attendee, and a Xicanx/Latinx Civil Rights lawyer, everything bere does stems from a lifelong dedication to social justice, particularly with respect to immigration, racial justice and criminal justice reform.

Having graduated from UC Berkeley with honors in 2003, bere went on to earn her law degree in 2006 from UC Berkeley’s School of Law. She worked in public defense for 14 years, specializing since 2012 in the intersection between criminal law and immigration (Crim Imm) and starting the Crim Imm programs in both Riverside and Sonoma County. She currently works as an immigration removal defense attorney with Sonoma Immigrant Services.

Her commitment to community service includes work as Communications Co-Chair of Community Organizations Active in Disaster (COAD), where she implemented protocols for receiving offers or requests for aid during the 2020 Walbridge and Glass fires and the floods of 2023. bere is also co-Founder and leader of Pipeline Pods, an intergenerational legal mentorship program for first-generation college and graduate students to expand access to the legal community and inspire youth to join the field so it may better reflect their communities.  Her many volunteer efforts include work with Los Cien, May 1st Coalition, and the Sonoma County 2020 Women’s Suffrage Project. 

As a published poet, bere was a proud member of Word to the Wise, a poetry ministry under the direction of Terry Patrick, from 2010 to 2015. Since 2016, bere has taught poetry workshops for youth with Raizes Collective, On the Margins, and Center for Well-Being. Her poems have featured in collaborations with Luis Valdez’s Teatro Campesino (Palabra Vol. Familia) and with Professor Anita Reyes’s student production at San Jose City College (I Love Immigrants). In May 2023, bere performed at The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art & Culture of the Riverside Art Museum as part of its first ever poetry event, Viva Poesía. Most Recently, bere performed her poetry as the keynote speaker at the Latinx graduations for SRJC and San Jose City College.

In 2022, the Healthcare Foundation recognized bere with the Spirit of Wetzel Award for her tireless advocacy for social justice and equity, including immigrant rights, and her devotion to community service, including extensive volunteer work during the recent fires, floods and pandemic. We are thrilled to welcome her back, this time as the featured speaker for Noche de Amor — A Benefit for Health Justice.

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