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Director of Pre-Law Studies to Tackle Racism at Sacramento City Unified School District

January 21, 2022

UC Merced’s Director of Pre-Law Studies Mark Harris is taking on a new position to help address racism at Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD).

Officials for the school district created a new position for Harris as district liaison to provide independent recommendations to the district on investigations and racist incidents.

“I grew up choking on the smoke from the original Watts riots in Los Angeles,” Harris said. “I lived in the segregated South Central section of the city and attended segregated schools. Racism is a scourge on our society and culture and stifles the full development of our children. I am proud that my new role with the SCUSD will allow me to lend my professional skills and training to identify and eradicate it.”

Harris will provide an impartial review of independent investigations into a recent racist incident at one of the 75 campuses in the SCUSD to ensure the process is credible and will serve as a liaison to the community to support communication between the district and the Black community.

He has practiced law and served in several public service positions in Sacramento for almost 40 years and is one of the founders of the Central Valley Leaders, a statewide youth leadership development academy.

“Mark Harris will be a critical friend to SCUSD as we support healing from the trauma that blatant racism has caused within our school communities and will push us to go deeper to confront racial prejudice so the culture and climate at our district and each of our schools will be inclusive, supportive, culturally competent, and equitable for all students, staff and families,” SCUSD Superintendent Jorge A. Aguilar said.

Harris will continue to serve as a lecturer of management and business economics at UC Merced and assist the school district on a part-time consulting basis.