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The ABF Convenes Leading Members of the Latino Community at Duke University for Southern Roundtable

October 17, 2019, Press releases

CHICAGO, Oct. 17, 2019 –The American Bar Foundation’s (ABF) Future of Latinos Southern Regional Roundtable will be held at Duke University School of Law on Nov. 1-2, 2019. The roundtable will focus on Latinx communities in the southern United States and is one of five regional symposia and roundtables under the ABF’s project, The Future of Latinos in the United States: Law, Opportunity, and Mobility

Roundtable participants will consist of academics, representatives of foundations, community and social service providers, emerging leaders, policymakers, and journalists, among others. Participants will examine four key drivers of opportunity and mobility: education, economic participation, political mobilization and civic engagement, and immigration.

The Future of Latinos research project is devoted to understanding the current condition of the Latinx communities in the United States, the structural barriers that impede full equality and integration for this growing population, and the sites of intervention that promise to be most effective in promoting opportunity and mobility through law and policy.

A group of nationally recognized scholars leads the project under the direction of Rachel F. Moran and Robert L. Nelson. Moran was the inaugural the ABF’s William H. Neukom Fellows Research Chair in Diversity and Law and is Dean Emerita and Michael J. Connell Distinguished Professor of Law at UCLA Law School. Nelson is ABF Director Emeritus and the MacCrate Research Chair in the Legal Profession at the ABF and Professor of sociology and law at Northwestern University.

 The South presents unique challenges in addressing the future of Latinos and shows why a regional focus is key to our project,” Moran and Nelson said in a statement. “Some Southern states, like Texas, have large and longstanding Latino populations, while others like Arkansas, Georgia, and North Carolina have experienced recent and rapid growth.”

“The experience of Latinos in the area is highly varied,” Moran and Nelson note. “There are Mexican-origin families who have lived in Texas for generations, and others who are recent arrivals from other countries. In Florida, Latinos of Cuban origin arrived because they were fleeing Communism, but today Miami is a hub of international trade and home to global elites from throughout Latin America. In states with recently arrived immigrant populations, many Latinos have come from other states or countries to perform work in construction and agriculture.”

They continue: “This variety of experience is reflected in the distinct approaches to law and policy in Southern states and cities.  At the same time, the Latino experience exists in the shadow of Black-White race relations forged in slavery and Jim Crow segregation. The South is a region like no other, and this roundtable will offer important insights into how law and policy can promote a bright future or block upward mobility for this growing Latino population.”

Trina Jones, the Jerome M. Culp Professor of Law at Duke Law School and an organizer of the Southern Roundtable, notes that the Latinx population in the South has grown rapidly in recent years. She believes that “now is an opportune time for discussions geared toward ensuring that Latinx communities face opportunity and mobility, rather than disadvantage and inequity, in future decades.”

The roundtable complements the Duke University Provost’s Forum on Immigration, scheduled for October 16-17, 2019, and other events that will occur throughout the year at the Law School. Jones is “thrilled to see Duke partner with the ABF and continue its active leadership in critically important conversations.” 

Keynote presentations by Professor Luz Herrera (Texas A & M University), Dr. Pilar Hernández Escontrías (UC Irvine), Dr. Douglas Massey (Princeton University), Dr. Amelie Constant (Princeton University), and Dr. Perla Guerrero (University of Maryland) will take place on Nov. 1, 2019, beginning at 9:15 a.m. in Room 3041 of the Law School.

The Southern Roundtable is the fourth in a series of events hosted by the American Bar Foundation’s Future of Latinos program. The first took place in Chicago in June 2016, the second at Yale Law School in April 2017, and the third was held in Miami at the Miami Dade Community College in March 2018. The ABF will also host a roundtable focused on the western United States at the University of California, Irvine School of Law.

The Southern Roundtable is supported by the ABF, Duke University’s Office of the Provost, Duke Law School, the Duke Center on Law, Race and Politics, Duke’s Office for Institutional Equity, Duke’s Council on Race and Ethnicity (DCORE), and the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity at Duke. 

For more details about the roundtable, as well as online registration, please visit All plenary sessions are open to the Duke community and the public. Media interested in attending should contact

For more information on the “Future of Latinos” research project, please visit the project’s website, Facebook and Twitter pages, or contact

About the American Bar Foundation

The American Bar Foundation (ABF) is among the world’s leading research institutes for the empirical and interdisciplinary study of law. The ABF seeks to expand knowledge and advance justice through innovative, interdisciplinary, and rigorous empirical research on law, legal processes, and legal institutions.  To further this mission, the ABF will produce timely, cutting-edge research of the highest quality to inform and guide the legal profession, the academy, and society in the United States and internationally. The ABF’s primary funding is provided by the American Bar Endowment and the Fellows of The American Bar Foundation.

Read a PDF of this press release 

Posted by Whitney Peterson 


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