June is Pride Month and we are proud to celebrate our LGBTQ+ employees, clients and the community –throughout this month and every day. We believe that every individual’s experience makes us stronger and that we can all learn from each other’s perspectives.
The first Pride Marches were held on June 28, 1970 to commemorate the anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising a year earlier. Pride marches and parades are held around the world every June.
BAL has devoted more than four decades to advocating for the equality of all immigrants. We fought and won the historic case, Hill v. INS, that struck down the policy of excluding gay and lesbian foreign nationals from entry and led to the elimination of that classification of inadmissibility.
We recently sat down with BAL Partner Rob Caballero, who oversees the firm’s Houston, Austin and New York operations, for a conversation about the meaning and significance of Pride month.
What does Pride Month mean to you?
For me, it’s a reflection of how far I have come in my own personal journey, and also how far we have come, and how far we still need to go, in our community’s journey. Time to celebrate life, community and friendship.
How do you observe Pride Month?
I tend to support local or national organizations by contributing time or resources. Sometimes there’s the parade, but it’s hot in Houston in June! With 110+ degrees and 80% humidity, I don’t always make it to the parade, but I do contribute in other, more air-conditioned, ways.
What would you tell your 20 year-old self, knowing what you know today?
To trust the journey and walk your path. Learn from days or times that are hard, and enjoy and relish the days that are not.
How has your background and your own journey inspired your work as an attorney in the immigration space?
As it relates to immigration, every immigrant brings something unique to this country. I’m probably one of the few people who knew I wanted to be a lawyer since I was a kid. But I didn’t know I would go into immigration law until later. Looking back, when my mom went to submit her application for naturalization, she just did it on her own with my dad who ultimately went with her to her appointment. I wondered if they even thought to go to an immigration attorney. I realized what we do is remarkable. We, BAL, are a key component that makes a profound mark on somebody’s personal life. It’s really critical and important and hopefully we leave a mark that is supportive, that is sympathetic, a mark that – as we say at BAL, and it’s true – makes a positive difference in someone’s life.
What LGBTQ+ issues would you like to see progress on?
As a firm helping immigrants, we know that immigration makes us stronger as a country. Diversity is a good thing. It’s a way of learning and relating to each other and understanding that not everyone is going to be the same. I would like to see us move in a direction that is more inclusive and understands that the more diverse we are, the stronger we are.
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