2012 Equal Justice Works Fellow, Joanna Cuevas Ingram

Joanna Cuevas Ingram

City, State: San Francisco, California
Issue area: Civil Rights/Civil Liberties, Voting Rights/Electoral Participation
Sponsors: Anonymous

The Project

As an Equal Justice Works Fellow with the California Voting Rights Institute (CVRI) at The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights (LCCR) of the SF Bay Area, I plan to develop community-led strategies and community-based efforts to combat minority vote dilution, Voter ID laws and felon disenfranchisement by advocating in various forums throughout California and states throughout the Ninth Circuit, including courts, state legislatures, city councils and school boards. I plan to advance these efforts with a three-pronged approach, integrating (1) community-based outreach & education, (2) litigation and (3) independent scholarly research & legal education.

The Inspiration

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Growing up in Oakland, California, I began as a youth advocate combating racial profiling and California state policies that had a disparate impact on youth of color in 1998. After engaging in over fourteen years of critical human rights analysis and community-based advocacy with a number of organizations, I came to realize that without a more nuanced and intimate understanding of the law, the communities I continue to live in and serve would not be fully equipped to win sustainable solutions.

Engaging in critical research and scholarly analysis in "The Color of Change: Voting Rights in the 21st Century and the California Voting Rights Act," (forthcoming, Harvard Latino Law Review, Vol. 15, 2012) only reaffirmed my lifelong commitment to seek out community-based solutions for civil rights and human rights violations, and it led me to focus on one of the most fundamental civil and human rights we have in the United States – the right to vote.

This work inspired me to continue to perform critical research and impact litigation as informed and led by communities throughout California and the Ninth Circuit that look largely like my own—mostly low-income, African American, Latina/o and rife with barriers in access to voting, education, health care and employment.



Oakland, California

Law school:

Recommended books:

Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness; Derrick Bell, Ethical Ambition: Living a Life of Meaning and Worth; Kimberlé Crenshaw, On Intersectionality: The Essential Writings of Kimberlé Crenshaw; Lani Guinier & Gerald Torres, The Miner's Canary: Enlisting Race, Resisting Power, Transforming Democracy; Ian Haney-López, White By Law: The Legal Construction of Race; Kevin R. Johnson, Mixed-Race America and the Law: A Reader; Kevin R. Johnson, Opening the Floodgates: Why America Needs to Rethink its Borders and Immigration Laws; June Jordan, passion: new poems 1977-1980

Words to live by:

"Love takes off the masks we think we cannot live without, but know we cannot live within." -James Baldwin

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