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The CSUB Kegley Institute of Ethics presents “Sowing the Seeds of Justice”

Cruz Reynoso PhotoThroughout his extraordinary life, California Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso has been one of those rare individuals who are not shaped by history, but rather make history. He has had a most distinguished legal career in the public interest and is one of the leading Chicano civil rights leaders of his generation.

The public can hear directly from Justice Reynoso at the 28th Annual Charles W. Kegley Memorial Lecture, “Sowing the Seeds of Justice: The Central Valley 75 Years after The Grapes of Wrath” on Thursday, April 17th at 7pm in the CSUB Doré Theater.  The event is free and open to the public with free parking after 6pm in lots A, B, and C. In addition, there will be a presentation of Abby Ginzberg's award winning documentary, "Cruz Reynoso: Sowing the Seeds of Justice," on Wednesday, April 9th at 7pm in the CSUB Student Union Multi-Purpose Room. This event is also free and open to the public, with free parking in Lot K after 6pm.

Like many boys in migrant families, Reynoso was expected to quit school and work in the fields. But he chose to pursue education, and went on to earn his law degree from the University of California, Berkeley in 1958. He then became one of the young lawyers to help lift poor agricultural workers from poverty by forming the California Rural Legal Association (CRLA). Reynoso worked alongside Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, providing legal assistance during their fight for the improvement of field laborers as they formed the United Farm Workers union.

In the early 1970’s, he began teaching law at the University of New Mexico and became one of the nation’s first Latino law professors. Soon after, he accepted a seat on the California Court of Appeals under Governor Jerry Brown.  In 1982, he was appointed to the California Supreme Court.  In 1996, President Bill Clinton appointed Reynoso to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and four years later, awarded him the Presidential Medal of Honor.  Today, Reynoso is 80 years old and continues an active legal practice while also teaching law three days a week at the University of California, Davis.

”The Grapes story is one of perseverance, strife and, ultimately, success in the face of poverty and bigotry,” notes Christopher Meyers, Director of the Kegley Institute. “Who better, thus, to represent the contemporary picture of those conditions than someone who started life in the fields, only to work his way to some of the highest offices in the country? We are deeply proud to present Justice Reynoso to the community.”

Both events are made possible by the ongoing support of San Joaquin Community Hospital and Kern Schools Federal Credit Union, with additional support from the Kern County Bar Association Charitable Foundation.  The events are part of CSUB’s celebration of the 75th anniversary of The Grapes of Wrath. For more information, visit

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