James Soto

I am a Latino of Mexican-American and Indigenous Meso-American descent. I grew up on Chicago’s South Side in the Pullman neighborhood and later as a teenager I moved to Brighton Park. AS an adolescent, I would go to a cultural/community center called Centro Del Barrio located around 96th and Commercial. There I learned about Mayan and Aztec history. They also taught us about social movements and I participated in distributing flyers to boycott agricultural produce in support of Cesar Chavez’s Farm Workers Union.

This exposure to the colonization and exploitation of the Indigenous Meso-American people and their descendants instilled in me an awareness and desire for activism. The classic struggle of the under privileged working class versus the elitist corporate state. 

I have always enjoyed reading and studying. I am a prisoner advocate and prison abolitionists. I taught myself the law and legal procedure on my own, mainly through trial and error. Over the years I’ve managed to become proficient with the law and its many nuances. I’m proud to say I’ve helped out numerous caged humans with a variety of legal issues, and have had great percentage of successes. 

Currently I am a student in Northwestern’s Prison Education Program (NPEP). The program provides and Associates Degree in partnership with Oakton Community College and the opportunity to earn a Bachelor of Science Degree in Social Sciences conferred by Northwestern University. I hope to continue my education and earn a Law Degree which I want to use to advocate for real public policy changes to the criminal justice system.