Law Review Symposium Spotlights Criminal Justice and the Latinx Community

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L to R: UCLA Law professor Jennifer Chacón moderates a panel featuring Kevin Johnson of UC Davis School of Law, Amada Armenta of UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, Ana Muñiz of UC Irvine School of Social Ecology and Julia Mendoza of Stanford Law School.


The criminal justice system’s impact on Latina and Latino people in Southern California and across the nation was the focus of the annual UCLA Law Review symposium at UCLA School of Law on Feb. 8.

Sponsored by the law review and UCLA’s BruinX — Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, the event, “Latinx Communities, Race, and the Criminal Justice System,” featured leading scholars and practitioners who work to uncover and combat the ways in which bias affects Latinx communities’ interactions with law enforcement. It was organized by Devon Carbado, who is the Hon. Harry Pregerson Professor of Law at UCLA Law and UCLA’s Associate Vice Chancellor of BruinX for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, along with UCLA Law professors Jennifer Chacón and Sherod Thaxton, and Cornell Law School professor Sheri Lynn Johnson.

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UCLA Law professor emeritus Gerald López delivers the keynote address.


Panels during the day-long meeting, which drew more than 100 people to UCLA Law, addressed incarceration, policing, community organizing and criminal adjudication, plus related issues involving ethics and capital punishment. In addition to the event organizers, speakers and moderators included UCLA Law professor Laura Gómez, UCLA Law Criminal Justice Program associate director Alicia Virani, UCLA history professor Kelly Lytle Hernandez, UCLA political science professor Matt Barreto, and UC Davis School of Law dean and professor of public interest law and Chicano/a studies Kevin Johnson.

UCLA Law professor emeritus Gerald López delivered the event’s keynote address. He captivated the crowd with reflections on his childhood in East Los Angeles in the 1950s, where he watched the criminal justice system target Latinx people — activity that, he noted, continues to this day.

“It left impressions on me that shape everything I do,” he said while encouraging budding attorneys and activists to continue his lifelong effort to respond to those challenges and “change the world.”