Growing up in the Bronx, Marisol LeBrón witnessed two conflicting realities. She saw the diverse and vibrant communities around her neighborhood of Parkchester, but she also witnessed the struggles of Bronx's residents around stigmas about poverty and crime.
She observed neighbors and people on the street navigate tense relationships with law enforcement. She felt a sense of hyper surveillance in many areas of the borough. LeBrón eventually left the Bronx to attend Oberlin College. During this time, LeBrón came out as a queer women and found a supportive community in college. She also became inspired by her professors who were also people of color.
This led her to pursue a career as a professor where she could explore issues of social inequality, policing, and protest. Her upbringing in the Bronx and family history in Puerto Rico influences her research. She analyzes the different ways criminal justice systems exacerbate race and class differences. She is an assistant professor of American Studies at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania and currently a postdoctoral associate in Latino/a Studies in the Global South at Duke University.
Host Frank Stasio talks with LeBrón about her upbringing in the Bronx and the connection between the criminal justice system in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
View one of the song's that inspired LeBrón's research below:
"Señor Oficial" by Eddie Dee