To prepare our youth to become our next leaders we need to understand the links between California’s youth-serving systems and their potential.
With the departure of a federal regime that has unapologetically criminalized and harmed our communities while promoting white supremacist narratives, we have a moral obligation to select leadership that will work to undo the harm that will affect our youth for generations. Our youth bear the brunt of the racist, divisive rhetoric that has plagued the political arena for the last four years, and change is now upon us.
We must select an Attorney General who has the knowledge, experience and moral fiber to implement policies that align economic development with de-carceration. California Supreme Court Justice Goodwin Liu’s record of advocating for California’s most vulnerable children makes him the ideal candidate to be California’s next AG.
Justice Liu has a proven track record of being an advocate for equity and opportunity, and coupled with his deep understanding of the rule of law, he is the best person positioned to provide oversight when systemic failures occur and there is a blatant disregard for the humanity of children.
We do not need another career politician, we need a champion for justice and Justice Liu has proven to be that champion.
Justice Liu’s knowledge comes at a critical time as California struggles with a changing landscape, including the realignment of California’s Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). His dissent in the court's denial of review for a case involving the rights of a 10-year-old, sparked SB 395 which requires children under the age of 16 to be represented by counsel during police interrogations.
He is a vocal guardian of the rights of Black and brown youth, weeks ago publishing another dissent from a denial of review in a case involving a 13-year-old who was charged with assaulting a police officer after two cops had grabbed her by her arms. Justice Liu emphasized the realities that Black and brown youth face in their interactions with police, writing that “when the two deputies grabbed J.E.’s arms, she may as well have thought that the deputies were trying to harm her.”
This kind of critical approach makes him the only real candidate for this position.
It has been 25 years since the term “superpredator” entered the political arena with repercussions that continue to be felt by California’s Black and brown communities. Justice Liu’s opinions have inspired efforts to dismantle the unjust tough-on-crime practices that have pipelined children into the criminal justice system.
Justice Liu’s opinion in a case regarding school truancy and probation last year led to the passage of AB 901 that requires school districts to attempt to remedy the personal issues students face before referring them to probation.
Justice Liu has also been a longtime supporter of equity in public education. As a law professor at UC Berkeley, he published an article that critiqued the school financing system. His article initiated the Legislature’s overhaul of California’s school finance system and the adoption of the Local Control Funding Formula, securing more resources for schools in low-income areas and with large populations of English Learners.
Justice Liu has written articles on school desegregation and affirmative action, highlighting the need for systemic reforms that would create a more equitable system.
Justice Liu is the AG candidate that California’s children deserve. His appointment will ensure that marginalized children will have the representative and advocate they need as we begin building our path forward.
Justice Liu is the champion for justice our children deserve.
Samuel Nuñez is the executive director of Fathers & Families of San Joaquin. Opinions are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of San Jose Inside. Send op-ed pitches to [email protected].