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The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

California Supreme Court Justice Returns To The School Where He Started Education

Originally written for publishing on May 14, 2013.

Cruz Reynoso Day at the Fullerton Museum was one of many events held by the centennial committee. Visitors came on Saturday to watch an hour length documentary and participate in the Q&A; session with Reynoso at the end of the film.

“We’re trying to inspire our students with compelling stories and Cruz’s story is one that many students can learn from,” said Robert Jensen, Dean of Fine Arts Department.

This is an effort from the centennial committee to bring more awareness to students and community.

“When I met Cruz Reynoso before the event, I felt a sense of joy and inspiration as he and I shared about growing up in the city of La Habra,” said Herbert Alamo, a visitor to the event.

The film screened, “Sowing the Seeds of Justice” by Abby Ginzeg, an independent filmmaker, depicts Cruz Reynoso’s life long accomplishments and what he has contributed to politics and to the Latino community.

“We’re going back and looking forward,” said Jensen.

The film shows some of Reynoso’s background, such as being the third of eleven children of two Mexican immigrant farmer workers in Brea. Reynoso’s attended a segregated elementary school. Although, his mother wanted him to continue working in the fields along with his brothers at age sixteen he continued to further his educational career and enlisted in the United States Army for a while and attended law school as the only Latino in his class in his time.

Before attending law school he attended Fullerton College, graduating in 1951 and is remembered for being the first Latino student body president at the time.
After becoming a lawyer he did not forget his roots of being the son of immigrant farm workers as seen throughout his career.

He attempted to work alongside Caesar Chavez and became a director of California Rural Legal Assistance alongside other lawyers to help defend the rights of farmer workers.

One change noted in the film was the usage of the short handle hoes to the long handle hoes. Many farm workers at the time were suffering from back problems due to hunching for many hours in the fields.

Throughout his career he dealt with various other politicians such as Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, Jerry brown and the Kennedy’s.

Bill Clinton during his term awarded him the Medal of Freedom.

After his time with the CRLA he was called by many universities to come and teach and then became one of the few Latino law professors in the nation. He began to teach in 1972 at the University of New Mexico and dedicated sometime to his family and ranch he had.

It was seen as a surprise to him to be appointed as a Supreme Court justice due to his background in law that he felt disqualified him.

Once appointed Supreme Court justice, he became a part of the Roseburg court. In the film it is described as a controversial court.

In 2001, he began teaching law at the University of California, Davis and is currently professor emeritus. Reynoso has also been elected as community college alumnus nationally.

“I came from [just] a handful of latino law professors to now so many,” said Reynoso.

Currently the centennial committee continues to plan more events to celebrate the college. Reynoso will be appearing in the Hall of Fame induction and will be speaking at this year’s commencement ceremony.

“What I will take from the event is Cruz’s humble and strong conviction of faith and justice by any means necessary,” said Alamo.

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