Congratulations to my law professor Berta Hernández-Truyol for being named a 2022 Kate Stoneman Day Awardee by Albany Law School.
I was in Professor Hernandez’s International Human Rights class when the French Senate began debating the hijab ban in 2004. I went to her in office hours upset and hurt that how could international human rights allow this hijab ban to even be considered. I couldn’t reconcile how international human rights law would allow this attack on religious freedom. And what she told me then in one word was what I would carry for many years. She said it was about “dignity.” That everyone had a right to “dignity.”
Professor Hernandez was more than a teacher. She was a visionary. She was putting up the fight before others even knew there was a fight that they could be fought.
Here is an excerpt of the summary of her work and accomplishments:
Hernández-Truyol is an internationally renowned human rights scholar who utilizes an interdisciplinary and international framework to promote human well-being around the globe. She develops, expands, and transforms human rights discourse with a focus on issues of gender, race, ethnicity, culture, sexuality, language, marginabilities (vulnerabilities and marginalizations), and their interconnections.
As part of a team of Florida scholars engaging with Cuba and re-establishing relations between the Levin College of Law and the University of Havana Law School, she has traveled to Cuba to develop associations with professors across the Havana campus. She has also written numerous articles about Cuba and human rights.
Beyond Cuba, she travels broadly to discuss and teach human rights. She has made presentations and offered courses in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Germany, Guatemala, France, Italy, Mexico, Peru, Spain, Switzerland, and Uruguay.
Hernández-Truyol’s upcoming essay, “Awakening the Law: A Latcritical Perspective,” explores an innovative theory for “awakening” the law – a concept that brings together many disciplines to develop a deep consciousness about the law and a connection to the human condition. It is the first piece in a series to develop a model for law and legal structures and deconstruct unjust established hierarchies.
Her written work critically examines equality, privacy, and dignity through a human rights lens with a focus on gender, race, culture, and sexuality. Among her hundreds of published articles and book chapters is a chapter about the impact on children and families of discrimination on the basis of sexuality, in a book she co-edited with Italian law professor Roberto Virzo, “Orientación sexual y tutela de menores: perspectiva del derecho internacional y comparado.”
She is also engaged in researching, writing, and co-editing works for an Oxford Handbook on International LGBTI Law from an international-comparative perspective.