Screening of the film and discussion with Cruz Reynoso and filmmaker Abby Ginzberg.
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.
Sowing the Seeds of Justice 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, where he worked tirelessly to prevent Governor Reagan from eliminating CRLA. After succeeding in his efforts to preserve CRLA and legal services for the rural poor, he became 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. Four years later, in 1986 in a heated recall campaign whose central issue was the death penalty, Reynoso and Justices Rose Bird and Joseph Grodin lost their seats. Appointed by President Bill Clinton as Vice Chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Reynoso provided leadership in the only investigation of voting rights abuses in the 2000 election in Florida, focusing on the disenfranchisement of African American voters throughout Florida. He received the country’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, for his lifelong devotion to public service and today at 80, he continues to teach law at UC Davis Law School and to actively participate in community organizations throughout the state of California.