El Paso Judge Maria Salas-Mendoza has been sworn in as president and chair of the board of directors of Texas Latinx Judges, or TLJ, the organization announced in a press release. The nonpartisan, nonprofit professional association focuses on “the advancement of current and future Latinx judges” through networking opportunities, recognition of contributions to the judiciary, encouraging judicial service in the community, according to a press release.

Salas-Mendoza succeeds TLJ Past President Judge Victor Villarreal, of Laredo.

Salas-Mendoza, an El Paso native, has more than 16 years of judicial experience and has served as judge of the 120th Judicial District Court in El Paso since 2007. After graduating from Harvard, she earned her law degree from UCLA School of Law. Most recently, Salas-Mendoza served as TLJ’s president-elect last year, and as secretary the year prior. She will work together with President-elect Chief Justice Dori Contreras, of the 13th Court of Appeals, to promote TLJ’s mission and provide programs for judges and students.

“Judge Salas-Mendoza will excel in her role as president,” TLJ Immediate Past President Judge Victor Villarreal said in a press release. “Her extensive knowledge of judicial, state bar, and legal issues uniquely qualify her to strengthen TLJ’s mission and goals.”

Salas-Mendoza has also served on the Supreme Court Advisory Committee, and on the councils for the State Bar of Texas Judicial, Hispanic Issues, and Women and the Law sections. She oversees the Women’s Addiction and Recovery Treatment Court and is devoted to community service, including mentoring students of all ages and the numerous projects of her Lions Club.

“Our goal this year is to continue the good work this organization began just three years ago and to strengthen the programs that serve our pipeline students, as well as our members through continuing education, promotion, and networking,” Salas-Mendoza said in a press release. “Our members are as diverse as the state of Texas and from all parts of it, too. We will improve our mission to ensure that all Texans see the added value of a diverse judiciary; importantly, we need to demonstrate how justice is served by the promotion of procedural fairness, which perception is enhanced when judges reflect the community they serve.”

For more information on TLJ, go to www.texaslatinxjudges.org.