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Juan Carlos Ibarra, Civil Rights Lawyer

Portrait of Juan Carlos Ivarra
Juan Carlos Ibarra

After graduating from UCSB with a BA in the History of Public Policy in spring 2006, Juan Carlos Ibarra went to Washington, DC where he worked with the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “My history courses,” he writes, “especially those taught by Professors DeHart, Kalman, O’Connor, and Bergstrom, provided a strong base for my work with the nation’s largest civil rights coalition.” As a law student at Columbia Law School in New York City, Ibarra continued to pursued his interest in civil rights, voting rights, and public policy, becoming, once he graduated, a civil rights lawyer. After a few fellowships, he worked for a multiracial justice organization based in Washington, DC called Advancement Project, where he analyzed policy and legal issues, created educational materials for the public, and organized grassroots coalitions. Eventually, he moved back to the East Bay in California, where he works as a political and election law lawyer for a small, private law firm.

“It should not be understated,” he writes, “the lessons I learned in the History Department set the foundation for my career. Although I’ve gained a lot of experience since undergrad, one of the most valuable takeaways from the History major is that it offers a great way to learn how to think critically about the world around you. That world is constantly changing and learning to place these changes into a historical context will help you navigate it more effectively. Through the History Department you will also learn some very practical skills, such as how to research, write, and explain your ideas.”