Excerpted From: Juan R. Sánchez and Sarah Zimmerman, Judge Nelson A. Díaz and Latinx Leaders' Legacies, 96 Temple Law Review 1 (Fall, 2023) (89 Footnotes) (Full Document)


NelsonADíazThe struggle for civil rights has never been black and white; multiracial coalitions have been imperative in fighting for equality under the Constitution. With the creation of the new Hon. Nelson A. Díaz Professorship in Law, Temple University Beasley School of Law has brought important recognition to the role Latinxs have played in this movement. It has spotlighted a trailblazer in the Latinx community and committed to support other leaders who follow in his footsteps. The authors participated in a panel discussion in the Spring of 2023, which celebrated Judge Díaz and Latinx leadership in the law. This Essay will build on that event, detailing Judge Díaz's legacy of advocacy and service and exploring the many Latinx contributions to the civil rights movement that the Professorship seeks to showcase. With Judge Díaz's generous gift, Temple has invested in Latinx representation and recognition, broadening our understanding of who fights for our civil rights, and for whom.

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The Díaz Professorship continues this work, shining a spotlight on the special contributions of Latinx leaders in the civil rights movement. The story of Judge Díaz's career is one of hard work, public service, and generosity. With the establishment of the Díaz Professorship, Temple University Beasley School of Law helps write a new chapter to this story, extending Judge Díaz's legacy and drawing attention to the importance of Latinx representation in the legal profession. In 2022, only 5.8% of attorneys were Latinx, despite the community comprising 18.5% of the country's population. Increasing these numbers is essential to ensuring that Latinxs have a seat at the table in conversations about law and justice. Finally, the Professorship supports a more nuanced understanding of the development of civil rights in our country--how far we have come, and how far we still have to go.

Juan R. Sánchez has served as a United States district judge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania since 2004.

Sarah Zimmerman clerked for Chief Judge Sánchez from 2022 to 2023 and is currently a law clerk on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.