The Honorable Nelson A. Díaz Professorship in Law Annual Lectureship Affirmative Action –
A Latinx Perspective 

Discussion and Reception

Second Celebration
Thursday, February 29, 2024
Temple University Beasley School of Law – Moot Court Room
4:00 PM EST
Reception to Follow  

about the event

Honorable Nelson A. Díaz’s vision of sharing the pivotal role of Latinx civil rights contributions in the United States is in keeping with his commitment to civil rights for all. In the inaugural celebration of the Professorship, panelists discussed Mendez v. Westminster (1946) (California), a landmark school desegregation case and precursor to Brown v. Board of Education.

Considering the upending of affirmative action in college admissions by the U. S. Supreme Court in SFFA v. Harvard and SFFA v. UNC, the second celebration of the Professorship in Law will focus on affirmative action.

Speakers

Dr. Yomaira Figueroa-Vásquez

Director, Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College (CENTRO)

Yomaira C. Figueroa-Vásquez is an Afro-Puerto Rican writer, teacher, and scholar from Hoboken, NJ. She is Professor in the department of Africana, Puerto Rican, and Latino Studies at CUNY Hunter and is the Directora of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies (CENTRO). She is the author of the award-winning book Decolonizing Diasporas: Radical Mappings of Afro-Atlantic Literature (Northwestern University Press, 2020; translated by Editora Educación Emergente, 2023), and the forthcoming book, The Survival of a People (under contract with Duke University Press). Her published work can be found in Hypatia, Decolonization, CENTRO Journal, Small Axe, Frontiers Journal, Hispanofilia, Contemporânea, Diálogos, and Feminist Formations. 

Juan Cartagena

Lecturer in Law, Columbia Law School
President Emeritus Latino Justice, Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund (PRLDEF)

Juan Cartagena, a leading voice on equality and nondiscrimination, has successfully used the law to effectuate systems change for the benefit of marginalized communities.  A public speaker, litigator and educator, Mr. Cartagena, formerly the President & General Counsel of LatinoJustice PRLDEF, is a graduate of Dartmouth College and Columbia University School of Law. Juan currently teaches constitutional and civil rights law at Rutgers Law School in Newark, and Columbia Law School in New York City. He is a former Municipal Court Judge in Hoboken, NJ and has practiced law, exclusively in the public interest, for over 40 years.

Donald P. Harris

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Liaison Professor of Law, Temple University Beasley School of Law

Donald P. Harris is Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Liaison at Temple University Beasley School of Law.

A specialist in international intellectual property, Dean Harris joined Temple University Beasley School of Law in 2003, and teaches in the areas of intellectual property and commercial law. His courses include: Introduction to Intellectual Property, International Intellectual Property, Patents, and Uniform Commercial Code: Sales. He received his J.D. from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, where he received the dean’s award for outstanding public service and the pro bono service award. Dean Harris also received an LL.M. from the University of Wisconsin, as a Hastie Fellow, specializing in international intellectual property.

HONORABLE NELSON A. DÍAZ

Honorable Nelson A. Díaz

The Honorable Nelson A. Díaz, is a distinguished lawyer, respected jurist, successful partner, exceptional public servant, Fortune 100 corporate director, activist, columnist and author. In 1972, he graduated from Temple University’s James Beasley School of Law and in 2021, he created the endowed Honorable Nelson A. Díaz Professorship in Law at Temple. Presently, he is a member of Temple University’s Board of Trustees, of Counsel at Dilworth Paxson and co-founder of a national nonprofit, Hispanics in Energy.

Mr. Díaz is a trailblazer who broke many barriers. He was the first Latino attorney to pass the Pennsylvania bar, the first Latino Judge in the history of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the first person of color to be selected Administrative Judge in the Court of Common Pleas, the first Puerto Rican White House Fellow serving Vice President Walter Mondale, the first Puerto Rican Japan Society Fellow, and the first minority General Counsel at United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). He is a proud co-founder of Black American Law Student Association (BALSA) at Temple University School of Law and co-founder of the Hispanic Bar Association of Pennsylvania. Judge Díaz served on the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania Criminal Procedure Rules Committee and the Committee on Racial and Gender Bias.