From mentoring at-risk youth to promoting reforms to California’s criminal laws and health care system, Victor “Tito” Torres ’25 has worked for years to advance social justice and give back to the Latinx community.
This year, Torres was awarded the Jeanette M. Acosta Memorial Scholarship, named after a 2016 Hastings alumna who fervently advocated for the rights of marginalized people. Acosta passed away in 2017 after a valiant, year-long battle with cervical cancer.
“Receiving this scholarship in Jeanette’s honor is incredibly meaningful because she was a revolutionary who saw herself as a servant leader of the people,” Torres said. “I hope my work will promote and contribute to her indelible legacy when I become an attorney.”
To qualify for the $5,000 scholarship, one must be a first-year law student and member of the UC Law SF Latinx Law Students Association. The student must also demonstrate a commitment to social justice and have done work that supports the Latinx community.
“We received many compelling applications and Victor Torres’ stood out above the rest,” the scholarship selection committee stated. “For many years, Mr. Torres has served underserved communities, and he is committed to using his law degree to advocate for clean water, air, and land for Central Valley communities.”
Born and raised in Fresno, Torres said he was inspired by earlier generations of Mexican Americans who fought for labor rights, inclusive education, and more as part of the Chicano Movement. After high school, he worked with a Fresno-based nonprofit and mentored Latinx and Black teenagers from disadvantaged communities.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in political science from UC Irvine, Torres was accepted into the Capital Fellows Program, which brought him to Sacramento. He spent the next five years working in the offices of three state senators: Robert Hertzberg ‘79, Melissa Hurtado, and Josh Becker.
While working in Sacramento as a capital fellow, legislative aide, and senior legislative aide, he helped advance legislation that expanded health insurance gap coverage for Californians and made people unjustly convicted of certain crimes eligible to have their convictions overturned.
He also helped secure $12 million in state budget funds to support a youth civic engagement initiative. As co-chair of the California Latinx Capital Association Foundation, he coordinated a Policy Boot Camp program that exposed Latinx students to the legislative process and important policy issues.
Torres said he chose to go to law school in part because he wants the profession to be more diverse and include people who understand the lived experiences of immigrants, working-class individuals, and people of color. He said he chose UC Law SF in particular because of its proximity to diverse opportunities in the legal field and its long list of public-interest service offerings.
Torres said he hopes to use his legal education to advance social justice and help those in communities like the Central Valley, where he grew up and where many people are affected by poor air and water quality.
Torres will be recognized as a Jeanette M. Acosta Scholar throughout his education at UC Law SF.
“It is a distinct honor to be recognized as a Jeannette Acosta Scholar,” Torres said. “I am grateful to everyone who contributed toward this generous scholarship.”
For those interested in supporting the Jeanette M. Acosta Memorial Scholarship, please click here.