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Latino Leaders From Around the Country Convene to Strategize and Mobilize for Criminal Justice Reform

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                    

January 20, 2022

MEDIA CONTACT:
Paul Barragan-Monge

e: [email protected]

Sarai Bejarano
e: [email protected]

LATINO LEADERS FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY CONVENE TO STRATEGIZE AND MOBILIZE
FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM

On January 20 and 21, the UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Initiative, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, the Drug Policy Alliance, and the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators are hosting a two-day national convening to discuss the deep and systemic impacts of the American criminal justice system on the nation’s diverse and growing Latino communities.

The virtual convening, titled “Advancing Criminal Justice Reform Through A 21st Century Latinx Lens,” will bring together lawmakers, community organizers, policy advocates, academics, and other key stakeholders across the nation to elevate policy solutions and best practices throughout the country focused on advancing youth justice, drug decriminalization, reintegration pathways, and other focal areas in criminal justice reform.

“During this two-day national convening - taking place during the week we celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we are gathering to discuss the work that remains to be done to carry forward Dr. King’s vision for a more just society where every person is treated as inherently valuable and deserving of investment and opportunity,” said Maritza Perez, Director of the Office of National Affairs of the Drug Policy Alliance, one of the organizations sponsoring the convening.

Sonja Diaz, Founding Director of the UCLA Latino Policy & Politics Initiative stated, “With the devastating impacts of a pandemic that is showing no sign of retreat, and the compounding crises of climate disasters and worsening racial inequality, this moment calls for nimble and explicit policy reforms that will help build the resilience of communities of color who have been failed by our government institutions, especially our justice system.” 

The convening will culminate in the creation of a shared national policy agenda that will inform federal, state, and local advocacy and organizing efforts that seek to advance substantive criminal justice reform to secure dignity and opportunity for all.

Hispanics, who represent a substantial and growing portion of the U.S. population, continue to be disproportionately impacted by the criminal justice system. Hispanic policymakers at every level are working, along with advocates, to improve the justice system for black and brown communities, with reforms that move away from criminalizing our communities. We will not rest until we root out all racism from our criminal justice system and achieve equity and justice, together,” said Kenneth Romero of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators.

“It’s exciting to have Latinx advocates and impacted folks at the forefront of strategic discourse to build out the infrastructure mobilizing multi-racial coalitions focused on collective liberation,” said Lourdes M. Rosado, President and General Counsel for LatinoJustice PRLDEF. “To get to the ideals of a new and more equitable approach to criminal justice and public safety, it is imperative that our communities understand and connect with one another, recognizing the power in a coalition movement that includes Black and brown voices, and unites the platforms of immigrant rights and criminal justice.”

Interested participants can register for the two-day convening at the online event page.

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ABOUT LATINOJUSTICE PRLDEF
LatinoJustice PRLDEF works to create a more just society by using and challenging the rule of law to secure transformative, equitable and accessible justice, by empowering our community and by fostering leadership through advocacy and education. For nearly 50 years, LatinoJustice PRLDEF has acted as an advocate against injustices throughout the country.


ABOUT UCLA LATINO POLICY AND POLITICS INITIATIVE

The UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Initiative addresses the most critical domestic policy challenges facing Latinos and other communities of color through research, advocacy, mobilization, and leadership development to expand genuine opportunity for all Americans.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL HISPANIC CAUCUS OF STATE LEGISLATORS
The mission of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL) is to be the foremost organization serving and representing the interests of Hispanic state legislators from all states, commonwealths, and territories of the United States and the Western Hemisphere.

ABOUT THE DRUG POLICY ALLIANCE
The Drug Policy Alliance’s mission is to advance those policies and attitudes that best reduce the harms of both drug use and drug prohibition, and to promote the sovereignty of individuals over their minds and bodies.