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41 Harbinger 1 (2016-2017)

handle is hein.journals/harbg41 and id is 1 raw text is: Ivin Espinoza-Madrigal
Excerpt from Latinxs in the Law Lecture
NYU School of Law
/Buenas noches! Good evening!
I want to thank the Latinx Rights Scholars Program for inviting me to speak tonight. I
also want to thank the Latino Law Students Association, OUTLaw, the Public Interest
Law Center, and Dean Morrison for supporting this lecture. It's great to see so many
friends, colleagues, and legal warriors here tonight.
My journey here was not easy. I have lived in the United States since I was nine years
old. My mom, my brother, and I lived in a low-income, immigrant community. As a
single mother, my mom worked long hours. Her hard work put food on the table, but we
could not afford many things. I didn't have health insurance until my first job after
college. My family didn't have health insurance until an insurance exchange opened in
response to the Affordable Care Act. My undocumented family members remain
uninsured. They also live under the constant threat of deportation.
I didn't share a classroom with a white student until seventh grade. For many years, I
attended what were essentially segregated public schools serving students of color. Many
of my friends dropped out of school and eventually came into contact with the criminal
justice system. This was my introduction to the school-to-prison-to-deportation pipeline.
These are just a few examples of life at the intersection of race, immigration, and poverty.
When I came out in college, I added sexual orientation to this mix. My experiences
growing up fuel my passion and commitment for justice and equality. Even today, every
case I file reminds me of my family's struggle.
I recently represented Perla, an undocumented transgender Latina woman living with
HIV who engages in survival sex work. Perla was arrested for walking while trans in
Los Angeles. When she was brought to the precinct, the officer asked for her ID. She
couldn't provide one because she is undocumented. The officer searched through her
purse and found medicine. He asked what it was for and Perla explained it was her HIV
In California, sex work is generally treated like jumping the subway turnstile. It's a minor
offense, and you get a slap on the wrist: pay a fine and you get released.1 But because
HIV/AIDS, THE WILLIAMS INSTITUTE 3 (2015), https://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/wp-
content/uploads/HIV-Criminalization-California-Updated-June-2016.pdf [https://perma.cc/HLF4-
DYT6] (Across all HIV-related crimes, White men were significantly more likely to be released
and not charged (in 61% of their HIV-specific criminal incidents) than expected, and Black men
(38%), Black women (44%) and White women (39%) were significantly less likely to be released
and not charged. These charging differentials were even starker among individuals assumed to be
engaged in sex work under the solicitation while HIV-positive statute. White men were not


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