UW News

December 6, 2021

UW Law’s Angélica Cházaro named one of six ‘Freedom Scholars’ for work on immigration, abolition

UW News

Angélica Cházaro


Angélica Cházaro, assistant professor of law, has been named a “Freedom Scholar” by the Marguerite Casey Foundation and Group Health Foundation.

The honor, announced Dec. 6, recognizes six researchers around the country who focus on racial, social and economic justice. Each honoree receives a $250,000 unrestricted grant, to be distributed over two years.

This is the second year of the Freedom Scholars program. Last year, Megan Ming Francis, a UW associate professor of political science, received one of the inaugural awards.

Cházaro specializes in immigration law at the UW, where she has also taught Critical Race Theory, legal ethics, poverty law, and abolition and the law since 2013. She is also an organizer with Decriminalize Seattle and Solidarity Budget and has been actively involved with efforts to end both youth incarceration in King County and immigrant detention in Washington State.

“I’m so grateful for this support, which comes at a crucial time for me, opening up possibilities for deepening and supporting the social movements that mean so much to me,” she said.

Watch a video about Angélica Cházaro by the Marguerite Casey Foundation and Group Health Foundation.

Cházaro intends to use her award to expand her organizing and research around abolition, participatory budgeting, and immigrant justice, with a focus on shrinking the criminal legal system’s footprint.

“It’s about questioning inevitability, and introducing possibility. We’re asking, why are we doing this? Is this system working, who is it working for, and what should be changed?”

The Marguerite Casey Foundation, which seeks to empower marginalized communities, and the Group Health Foundation, which focuses on health equity, created the Freedom Scholars program to “recognize scholars who provide critical data, analysis, and ideas to movements working to shift the balance of power in society.”

“These scholars’ bold ideas and visionary leadership are critical to the modern liberation movements that our society desperately needs,” said Carmen Rojas, president and CEO of the Marguerite Casey Foundation. “Universities today are functioning more and more like corporations, and too many scholars working at the frontier of their fields do not have true academic freedom if they do not have greater financial freedom — specifically, the freedom to pursue the work that scholars know will be most useful for the greatest possible good.”

Group Health Foundation CEO Nichole June Maher said, “Freedom Scholars are leaders and thinkers who materialize huge ideas that deserve national recognition and concrete financial support. We fully believe in the reimagined future that movements for justice are working for. We are honored to fund these scholars whose work supports and illuminates a path forward.”

The $1.5 million initiative’s other recipients are faculty in the humanities and social sciences at American University, UCLA, the University of Chicago, The Ohio State University and Tufts University.