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News Posted on April 7, 2010

King Hall Honors Cruz Reynoso at Film Screening

Cruz Reynoso

Cruz ReynosoThe King Hall community came together to honor Professor Cruz Reynoso at a screening of "Cruz Reynoso: Sowing the Seeds of Justice," a documentary about the former California Supreme Court Justice, civil rights champion, and King Hall faculty member, at the Crest Theatre in Sacramento April 6.

More than 500 King Hall alumni, students, staff, faculty, and friends gathered for the event, which included remarks from Dean Kevin R. Johnson, California Assemblyman Mike Feuer, Justice Maria P. Rivera of the First District Court of Appeal, California Senator Gilbert Cedillo, and Ralph Lewin of the California Council for the Humanities, in addition to a presentation by La Raza Law Students.  Also in attendance were State Senator Gloria Romero, Assembly members Bill Monning and Manuel Perez, and Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye of the Third District Court of Appeal.  The event was sponsored by the Law School in partnership with the California Council for the Humanities, the California Latino Legislative Caucus, and La Raza Law Students Association.  The event drew media including La Opinion, which published a profile of Professor Reynoso on April 12.

"Cruz Reynoso is internationally known as a civil rights champion--a farm worker's son who rose from an Orange County barrio to become an activist, a law professor, and the first Latino to serve on the California Supreme Court," said Dean Johnson in his introductory remarks.   "He is nothing less than a civil rights icon.  While he has held many positions over the course of his accomplished career, his goal has remained the same: to promote civil rights and social justice. I can't tell you how much his presence means to us at UC Davis School of Law."

Senator Cedillo thanked the Law School for providing an opportunity to honor Professor Reynoso.  "Cruz Reynoso has set the highest standards for those who aspire to represent those in need," he said.  "He is the embodiment of a man of justice."

"Cruz Reynoso: Sowing the Seeds of Justice," a documentary by acclaimed filmmaker Abby Ginzberg, is the story of Professor Reynoso's life and career as it intersects with key moments in the history of California and the nation, including the fight for legal services for farm workers during the 1970s, the 1986 political campaign by death penalty advocates against Reynoso and two other California Supreme Court justices, and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights' investigation of voting irregularities in Florida during the 2000 Presidential election.  A member of the UC Davis School of Law faculty since 2001, Professor Reynoso was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, in 2000 by President Bill Clinton in recognition of his "compassion and work on behalf of the downtrodden." 

The film drew a standing ovation from the audience.  Following the presentation, a panel including Professor Reynoso, Justice Rivera, and Assemblyman Feuer commented on what they had seen.

"I've always considered myself something of a troublemaker, because I have tended to make people in power unhappy," said Professor Reynoso.  "That is sometimes necessary to bring about social justice, and I'm very pleased the film captured that part of my story."

The evening closed with the presentation by La Raza Law Students co-chairs Esmeralda Soria '11 and Aida Macedo '11, who presented Professor Reynoso with a plaque honoring his contribution to King Hall.

Photos of the event are posted to the Law School's Flickr site.

For more information on the film, please visit

Cruz Reynoso profile in La Opinion