As Director of Advocacy and Community Engagement Pilar Gonzalez Morales oversees SJLF’s advocacy efforts and advances the Foundation’s movement lawyering practices. Pilar is dedicated to fighting for social justice through abolitionist work aimed at dismantling carceral and policing systems. Since joining SJLF she has led litigation teams in filing a federal class action lawsuit (Ronduen v. The GEO Group) on behalf of immigrant detainees that were poisoned by a private detention company and a high impact lawsuit challenging the elimination of physical mail across San Mateo county jails (ABO Comix v. San Mateo County).
Pilar has devoted her legal career to civil rights litigation and advocacy, specifically disability justice, immigrant rights and anti-carceral litigation. Prior to joining SJLF, Pilar worked at the Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center (CREEC) where she was part of the Fraihat vs. Immigration Customs and Enforcement lawsuit which led to the liberation of over 50,000 immigration detainees during the COVID-19 pandemic. At CREEC she also served as Director of the Accessibility Project, where Pilar led litigation aimed at the intersection of disability and race, including lawsuits on behalf of racial justice protesters, protesters with disabilities and incarcerated people with disabilities.
Pilar also worked at Disability Rights California (DRC), the protection and advocacy agency for the state of California, for five years. At DRC, Pilar represented people with intellectual, developmental, and mental health disabilities – fighting for their right to live and thrive in their communities and against the institutionalization of people with disabilities. During her time at DRC, Pilar also worked on immigration justice matters, including investigations into the detention of immigrant children by the Office of Refugee Resettlement and practices at the Adelanto Detention Center.
After graduating from law school, Pilar joined Dentons Munoz (formerly Arias & Munoz) in San Jose, Costa Rica, where she was part of their International Litigation team.
Pilar moved to Los Angeles with her parents and siblings as a teenager and is now the third generation in her family to call the Los Angeles area home. Outside of work she enjoys rooting for F.C Barcelona, taking road trips, and visiting family in Nicaragua and Spain.