Commemorating Thirty Years of Latino Activism and Civil Society since the Passing of Proposition 187


Conference Call for Papers

Submission Deadline: October 1, 2023, 11:59 p.m.


Unearthing the Legacy:

Commemorating Thirty Years of Latino Activism and Civil Society

since the Passing of Proposition 187

March 1-3, 2024

University of California, Riverside


In 1994 a group of anti-immigrant activists, aided by right wing and neo-eugenicist think tanks, put Proposition 187 on the California ballot. The anti-immigrant ballot proposed to deny public services to undocumented individuals and require state employees, including teachers and medical personnel, to report undocumented people to state authorities. Proposition 187 was the beginning of a turn toward racial authoritarianism, a strategy for using the state to impose a particular racial-class order in the face of neoliberal restructuring and resistance movements. Indeed, 187 sparked waves of student walkouts and historic marches across California, galvanizing a generation of new activism and promoting a flourishing of creative and artistic expression. A new social movement of the 1990s was born.

Commemorating thirty years since the passing of Proposition 187 and the activism, politics, and art it fomented, the Latino and Latin American Studies Research Center and the Tomás Rivera Endowed Chair at the University of California, Riverside invite scholars, intellectuals, community and labor organizers, artists, performers, poets, writers, musicians, and activists to reflect on the significance and political and historic legacy of proposition 187 and era of protest that followed.

Neoliberal restructuring combined with California’s transition to a Latino majority provided the context for the oppositional clash between anti-immigrant, nativist projects, and Latino resistance in the 1990s. The new 1990s Latino activism drew on the Chicano Movement of the 1960s and included Mexican and Central American migrant activists, and labor, Indigenous, and LGBT organizations. Organized resistance to Prop 187 laid the groundwork for the current generation of Latino social movement organizing and mobilization across the United States and transnationally, with the influence of neo-zapatismo (EZLN). Proposition 187 also led to the formation of a new
Latino electorate in California and a new generation of Latino elected officials.

Resistance to Proposition 187s inspired a cultural, musical and intellectual renaissance across the state. Bands such as Quetzal, Quinto Sol, Ozomatli, Aztlan Underground, among others, emerged directly from the movement. Groups such as Brujeria, Cypress Hill, Los Olvidados, and Tijuana No! echoed activist concerns about migration, drugs, gang violence and police brutality.

We invite submissions for traditional scholarly papers and panels, performances, creative writing, and artworks that speak to the contradictory legacies of this era. We welcome all genres of work that reflect on this 30-year-old tension and the racism and resistance that it fomented.

Submit paper proposals here