Cruz Reynoso: Sowing The Seeds Of Justice
Airs Monday, September 5, 2011 at 11 p.m. on KPBS TV
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
During his extraordinary life, Cruz Reynoso has been one of those rare individuals who are not only shaped by history-they make history. "Sowing The Seeds Of Justice" paints a portrait of Cruz Reynoso, a man who felt the sting of injustice as a child and later, as a lawyer, judge and teacher, fought for over five decades to eradicate discrimination and inequality for all.
The film begins with Cruz Reynoso's childhood where he was born into a Spanish-speaking farm worker family of eleven children. It shows his struggle to be educated, leading to his graduation from Pomona College in 1953 and from UC Berkeley Law School in 1958. He then became the first Latino Director of California Rural Legal Assistance and later one of the first Latino law professors in the country beginning his academic career at the University of New Mexico Law School.
His ascent to the California Supreme Court was a singular achievement, when he was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown as the first Latino justice on that bench. Then in a heated recall campaign whose central issue was the death penalty, Reynoso and two other justices lost their seats.
As Vice Chair on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, he provided leadership in the only investigation of voting rights abuses in the 2000 election in Florida.
He received the country's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, for his lifelong devotion to public service and today at 78, he continues to teach law at UC Davis Law School and to actively participate in community organizations throughout the state of California.