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Civil rights


This commentary on "Building Bridges" was prepared in connection with a panel presentation addressing the same theme by Latina/o law professors during the 1995 Hispanic National Bar Association's annual meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico. It urges that we globalize our domestic legal practice by integrating international human rights norms as a means of developing, expanding and transforming the content and meaning of our human/civil rights jurisprudence. This piece contends that we have a wealth of human rights laws to which we have denied ourselves access in the past and of which we should make greater and better use in the future. To be sure, the current political-social climate favors isolationism and Congress has loudly articulated its misdirected "stay within the lines" (i.e., borders) policy which is not likely to comport with the perspective of this piece. Nonetheless, the benefits to be reaped from the incorporation of accepted human rights principles into our domestic rights discourse merits careful attention.

The aim of this bridge-building proposal is to provide a blueprint for co-existence in this diverse world of ours, comprised of myriad boiling, not melting pots. Although a diversity perspective certainly informs that there are many bridges to build, this essay concentrates on joining philosophical and international forces to build one grand structure-a bridge that can transport all individuals regardless of sex, race, national or social origin, class, religion, sexuality, color or political beliefs comfortably into the twenty-first century.