Students at Golden Gate University School of Law proudly launched the GGU Race, Gender, Sexuality, and Social Justice Law Journal on Monday, the first online-only journal at the school and one of just a handful of social justice-oriented law journals in the country.
The student-edited journal will provide a platform for practitioners, students, judges, and academics to write about race, gender, sexuality, and social justice via a born-digital format.
“As a group of diverse law students, we saw the need for a new journal that gave minority students on campus a platform to publish on issues that directly impact our communities,’’ said Founding Editor-In-Chief Silvia Chairez-Perez JD/MBA ’21. “As John Lewis once wrote, ‘Every successful movement needs to have achievable goals to give the people involved some victories. That keeps them focused, keeps them going.’ We hope this journal will elevate the voices of liberators to keep the movement going.”
Chairez-Perez is joined by two other co-founders, Managing Editor Tiffany E. Avila ’21 and Online Editor Bacilio Mendez II JD/MBA ’20, LLM ’21. The Founding Faculty Advisor is Professor Jyoti Nanda.
The students unveiled the journal web site on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Students will contribute short-form blog posts throughout the academic year, then publish a first edition of scholarly articles in late spring.
GGU Law is a well-respected leader in the education of race, gender, and social justice issues, and it serves predominantly Black, brown, LGBTQ, and other minority law students. Given these strengths, Nanda said, the school is perfectly positioned to host a platform for its faculty and students to publish scholarly work focused on these and related issues.
“The launch of this journal comes at a pivotal moment in our country’s history amid a reckoning with the dynamics of race and gender, particularly with respect to police interactions with Black and Brown communities,” Nanda said. “These three GGU students are true visionaries. They created a journal to analyze social justice legal issues with an intersectional lens that takes into account race, gender, and sexuality—issues and voices often missing in legal academic literature.”
“As someone who has spent her entire career as a scholar activist on legal issues impacting communities of color with an intersectional approach,” Nanda added, “I deeply appreciate the need for complexity and depth when addressing social justice issues.”
The founders included both words “sexuality” and “gender” in the journal’s title to acknowledge the distinction between the two and to encourage students and other writers to engage in meaningful scholarship on both topics.
Mendez said that, as a long-time activist and ally fighting on behalf of and alongside friends living with HIV/AIDS, he struggled with how to reconcile the need to step back from activism to attend law school.
“I founded this journal with Silvia and Tiffany,” he said, “to help ease the path for other queer agitators-turned-academics who struggle with the transition from direct action to legal advocacy. To them I say, this journal is proof positive that being in school does not mean that you have to be silent.”
The journal complements GGU’s three other publications: the GGU Law Review, the GGU Environmental Law Journal, the GGU Tax and Estate Planning Review, and the GGU Annual Survey of International and Comparative Law.
GGU Law Interim Dean Eric C. Christiansen agreed that the moment is ripe to augment the school’s current scholarly publications with one dedicated to the law’s capacity to advance social justice.
“My wish is that this will give voice to those whose stories are too often overlooked,’’ Christiansen said, “that it will empower legal advocates to pursue inclusive, meaningful equality in necessary and novel ways, and it will connect a broad community of scholars and activists to the work of justice.”
Students intentionally launched the journal on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Chairez-Perez said, to acknowledge the tenor of the times and the emergence of a “new civil rights movement.”
Located in San Francisco, Golden Gate University School of Law provides students with a solid foundation in legal theory and the skills necessary to be a successful practitioner. GGU Law has a special commitment to public interest law. In addition to a strong public interest law curriculum, the school offers financial assistance to students who pursue careers in public interest law, and our in-house clinics provide legal assistance to underrepresented populations. GGU students reflect a wide variety of ages, work experience, and cultural, ethnic, and religious backgrounds. GGU’s 700 law students include working professionals and recent college graduates from more than 100 undergraduate and graduate institutions.
Director of Communications, GGU