The Scholar: St. Mary's Law Review on Race and Social Justice

About This Journal

Our Mission

The Scholar: St. Mary's Law Review on Race & Social Justice seeks to speak on behalf of minorities by reaching out to the larger community, to inform them, to share with them, to educate them, and to grow with them. The goal of The Scholar is to give all minorities a "voice" in the publication of a legal journal on issues affecting all minorities.

In today's climate, where affirmative action is seen as a necessary evil, and where discrimination is viewed as a problem of the past, this scholarly journal wishes to extend and further the discourse of issues that touch upon race, ethnicity, class, gender, and sexual identity, as well as the countless other labels applied to individuals and groups in our society.

Our primary goal is to educate ourselves, and in the process, offer some different perspectives not often allowed or sought after in our society. The Scholar members and staff will strive diligently and honestly to produce articles that will offer insights into the daily struggles of minorities today.

The articles published in The Scholar will be building blocks for an understanding of the issues that face all of us today. These building blocks will form bridges: bridges to bring together all the members in our society, bridges to connect all groups that comprise our community, and bridges to access self-discovery and an understanding of the 'other.'

We wish to add to the existing discourse on the role of the law and hegemony in the lives and identities of minorities. We plan for the work of this journal to be transformative: it will educate, inform, and enlighten those who participate. We are creating an environment that will allow everyone to learn, to teach, to share, to work together, and to contribute to the legal and educational communities. The Scholar is a sign of hope for a promising future and for a better understanding of all members of our society.

Our History

It started out as a brave vision in the minds of six law students. In the waning years of the 1990s, following the decision in Hopwood v. University of Texas—along with Proposition 187 in California, Amendment 2 in Colorado, the end of federal and state affirmative action programs, and the termination of Dean Aldave, and other various aggressive assaults on civil rights laws, immigrant rights, and bilingual education—we decided to revive a project to create a legal publication which spoke to minority issues. With the guidance of Professors Rey Valencia and Amy Kastely, we sought to create a law review that would give a voice to ethnic minorities, gays and lesbians, immigrants, racial minorities, women, and other disenfranchised groups who are often silenced in our legal discourse. To make the bold claim that our work, our communities, and our lives are important.

With blind enthusiasm we dragged leftover furniture from the bowels of the Law Library basement and booted up computers that hadn't been touched in four years. Twenty courageous students joined The Hispanic Scholar as writers. After only a few months, we changed the name to The Scholar: St. Mary's Law Review on Minority Issues. The Scholar was given a minimal budget, just enough to publish our first volume. To build our community, we paid for office supplies, an office refrigerator, and a coffee maker out of our own pockets.

Always worried about administrative details—slow computers, no postage for solicitations, a leaky roof—we set out, as a team, to learn how to write and edit. Using Donald M. Murray's The Craft of Revision, and inviting the instruction of professors, we scoured for "gems" in our writers' discovery drafts. The most exciting part of this challenging process was watching our writers discover and develop their provocative, profound topics. Topics which were the essence of diversity; founded fundamentally on the experience, history, and culture of disenfranchised peoples. They were legal examinations into our experiences, histories, and cultures, most of which had never been the subject of scholarly legal discourse. Our sense of the importance of this work and the depth of our commitment complicated the inevitable emotional and political struggles of inventing a new organization. "A word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanged; it is the skin of a living thought, and may vary greatly in color and content according to the circumstances and the time in which it is used." Our words, the words of our families and our communities are an explosion of color. With anger, pain, struggle, and joy, we add our words to the ongoing conversation of the law. With gratitude and hope, we present The Scholar: St. Mary's Law Review on Race & Social Justice: our words.