Carmen Perez

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Carmen Perez


Carmen Perez is co-founder of Justice League NYC ‎and the Executive Director of The Gathering for Justice.

Background

"Carmen Perez has been an activist nearly her entire life. After the death of her 19 year-old sister when she was just 17, Carmen began to restore herself by dedicating her life to transforming the lives of young people. After graduating from UC Santa Cruz with a degree in Psychology in 2001, Carmen was dedicated to the pursuit of advocating for young men and women, and providing comprehensive leadership training and opportunities for individuals in and out of the criminal justice system.

Her work in Santa Cruz became well-known in the community and across the country. Carmen is the founder of the youth leadership group R.E.A.L. (Reforming Education, Advocating for Leadership) and Co-Founder of The Girls Task Force, which is dedicated to improving gender-specific services to better support all girls in our communities. She created and supported the “Youth Summit” concept where young people came together to discuss solutions on serious topics such as drug and alcohol reform, detention alternatives, gangs, and violence. Recommendations that came out of the group discussion were often presented and adopted by community and state-wide policy makers throughout California.

In 2002, Carmen went to work for Barrios Unidos in Santa Cruz – an organization dedicated to providing non-violence training and re-entry services for the incarcerated, and establishing an Institute for peace and community development in Santa Cruz and across the country. In 2005, while working for Barrios Unidos, Carmen met the man who would influence the next decade of her life – Harry Belafonte. Mr. Belafonte was forming [The Gathering for Justice], and was organizing huge masses of marginalized communities in non-violent settings across the country – and he invited Carmen to be a part of it. Through her work at Barrios Unidos, and a member of The Gathering, Carmen served both organizations while continuing to build her own programs focused on young girls and youth justice. In 2006, Carmen went to work for the Santa Cruz County Probation Department as a bilingual Probation Officer. With an all-female intensive caseload, Carmen worked tirelessly to provide appropriate programs and re-entry services for young women in the juvenile justice system.

In 2008 Carmen became the National Organizer of The Gathering for Justice and in 2010 she was promoted to Executive Director of the organizer. As Executive Director of The Gathering, Carmen has crossed the globe promoting peace, interconnectedness, and alternatives to incarceration and violence while collaborating in national policy presentations. In 2011, after moving her base of operations to New York, Carmen was tapped to help develop Purple Gold, a young worker’ s program that engages and cultivates the membership of 1199SEIU’s 35-and-under members, while setting the future for the Labor Movement. For two years she directed Purple Gold’s operations and program development across the boroughs of New York City.

Carmen has been featured on several TV programs and in numerous articles, and is the 2008 recipient of United Way’s “Community Hero Award,” and Santa Cruz County Women’s Commission “Trailblazer’s Award in Criminal Justice.” She was presented a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition for Outstanding and Invaluable Service to the Community, and received the “Zaragoza Award” from the Committee for the Mexican Culture at D.V.I. Prison in Tracy, for her contribution and dedication to bringing hope to incarcerated men. In May of 2014, she had the opportunity to share her life’s work and delivered her 1st TEDx Talk inside Ironwood State Prison hosted by Richard Branson and produced by Scott Budnick. She has recently been accepted into the Women’s Media Center Progressive Women’s Voices Class of 2014.http://www.gatheringforjustice.org/staff-profiles/#carmenperez]</ref>

The Gathering for Justice

The Gathering for Justice describes itself as "an inter-generational, inter-cultural social justice, civil rights organization rooted in history, spirituality and nonviolent direct action. Her record of accomplishments spans a decade of public service in the areas of national and international organizing, youth development, leadership enhancement, education and training, gender-specific program development for young women, policy advocacy, and she is most knowledgeable in the areas of juvenile and adult systems, and probation. Proposed advocacy project: fostering leadership among detained youth and strengthening ties with organized labor."

Bio from Justice League NYC

Carmen Perez's biography from the Justice League NYC[1]

"Carmen Perez is something of a Renaissance woman in modern-day activism. She has dedicated 20 years to advocating for many of today's important civil rights issues, including mass incarceration, gender equity, violence prevention, racial healing and community policing. As the Executive Director of The Gathering for Justice, a nonprofit founded by legendary artist and activist Harry Belafonte, Carmen has crossed the globe promoting peace through civil and human rights, building alternatives to incarceration and violence, and providing commentary and guidance for state and federal policy creation.
"In 2002, Carmen went to work for Barrios Unidos in Santa Cruz – an organization dedicated to providing non-violence training and re-entry services for the incarcerated, and establishing an Institute for peace and community development in Santa Cruz and across the country. In 2011, Carmen helped develop Purple Gold, a young worker’ s program that engages and cultivates the membership of 1199SEIU’s 35-and-under members, while setting the future for the Labor Movement. Her work providing cultural, spiritual and educational events as well as individual support to incarcerated youth inside of juvenile detention centers and prisons in California and New York has led Carmen to prisons in El Salvador and Venezuela.
"Carmen is the co-founder of Justice League NYC and founder of Justice League CA, two state-based task forces for advancing juvenile and criminal justice reform agenda. She has organized numerous national convenings, including Growing Up Locked Down conferences on juvenile justice, and led the March2Justice, a 250 mile march through 5 states from New York City to Washington, D.C. which drew Congressional attention to key legislative reforms to confront the national crisis in police violence. A respected expert in the field of juvenile and criminal justice and system accountability, Carmen was invited to testify before the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, was a featured speaker and Co-Convener of the 20th Anniversary of the Million Man March, Justice Or Else, and have been featured in numerous media and TV outlets.
"Carmen’s most recent work is her role as the National Co-Chair of the Women’s March on Washington, drew over 5 million people across the globe who marched in resistance of hatred and bigotry, affirming women of all identities’ rights as human beings. Carmen received the Justice, Peace, and Freedom Award at the 2016 AFL-CIO Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Civil and Human Rights Awards and has been a featured speaker at Harvard University, Columbia University, and the University of California - Santa Cruz. In 2017 Carmen was named one of Fortune’s Top 50 World Leaders and one of TIME’s most influential people.

Education

Activism/career

Take Back the American Dream Conference 2011

Carmen Perez The Gathering for Justice, was one of the 158 speakers who addressed the Take Back the American Dream Conference 2011 . The Conference was hosted by the Institute for Policy Studies, and Democratic Socialists of America dominated Campaign for America's Future, [2]

Dream Defenders Palestine Delegation

Dream Defenders Palestine Delegation toured "Palestine" and in Israel, early January 2015.

Carmen Perez left
The full list of delegates included five Dream Defenders (Phillip Agnew, Ciara Taylor, Steven Pargett, Sherika Shaw, Ahmad Abuznaid), Tef Poe and Tara Thompson (Ferguson/Hands Up United), journalist Marc Lamont Hill, Cherrell Brown and Carmen Perez (Justice League NYC), Charlene Carruthers (Black Youth Project), poet and artist Aja Monet, Patrisse Cullors (Black Lives Matter), and Maytha Alhassen.[3]
Palestine.PNG

On a historic trip to Palestine, freedom fighters from Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, New York, Ferguson, and Atlanta were able to witness firsthand the effects of Israeli apartheid and occupation, and to learn from the people who are actively resisting on the front lines. In Nazareth, the delegates decided to do a solidarity demonstration as a call for support of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign that was called for by Palestinian civil society in 2005.

This demonstration was coordinated by Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of ‪#‎BlackLivesMatter‬, and features "Ella's Song" by Sweet Honey in the Rock, sung by Charlene Carruthers, National Director of the Black Youth Project 100 and Dream Defenders’ Executive Director Phillip Agnew; poet, artist, and New York Justice League member, Aja Monet; rapper and Ferguson/Hands Up United organizer Tef Poe, and Ferguson/ Hands Up United organizer, Tara Thompson. Dream Defenders Ciara Taylor, Steven Pargett, Sherika Shaw, and Ahmad Abuznaid, journalist Marc Lamont Hill, New York Justice League organizers Cherrell Brown and Carmen Perez, and Maytha Alhassen, a University of Southern California Doctoral Candidate, are seen preforming the debke, a traditional Palestinian folk dance.[4]

9 day march

April 20, 2015, Linda Sarsour (Co-Founder of Muslims for Ferguson) and fellow marchers finished their 9 day march from New York City to D.C., where they will soon deliver a "justice package" demanding police accountability, an end to racial profiling and police militarization, and much more. They finished their 250 mile march but the struggle has just begun. As Linda said: "Many more journeys towards Justice to complete. We will travel as far as needed until our people are free."

Left Forum 2015

Ferguson to New York: Faces and Voices of a Movement

FRSO linked comrades

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Matt Meyer June 4 2016;

With Rachel Gilmer, Naima Moore-Turner, Carmen Perez and Osagyefo Sekou.

Women's March

Co-chairs of the Women's March organized anti-Trump protest scheduled on the day after President Donald Trump's inauguration, January 21, 2017 were;

Women's convention

Women’s March announced that U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) will open the Women’s Convention’s Friday evening program, which will take place in Detroit from Friday, October 27 to Sunday, October 29 2017.

Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-MI), Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Wendy Carrillo, and [Erica Ford] will also join the roster of over 60 women speakers, femmes, and allies of all backgrounds who will join thousands for a weekend of workshops, strategy sessions, inspiring forums and intersectional movement building. The theme of the Convention, “Reclaiming Our Time,” will honor U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), who will be headlining the Convention on Saturday evening.

“It was amazing to be part of the Women’s Marches and witness democracy in action...I fully expect to see that same turnout, passion and energy here in Detroit, and I look forward to speaking with women leaders from across the country,” said Senator Debbie Stabenow.

The growing list of speakers include: Angela Rye, Amber Tamblyn, Symone Sanders, Piper Perabo, Sally Kohn, Nomiki Konst, Leah Greenberg, Lilliana Reyes, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Rebecca Cokley, Nina Turner, Stephanie Schriock, Ai-jen Poo, Aida Hurtado, Lenore Anderson, Stephanie Chang, Raquel Castaneda Lopez, Melissa Mark-Viverito, Sarah Eagle Heart, Rashida Tlaib, Brittany Packnett, Winnie Wong, Stosh Cotler, and the Women’s March co-chairs Bob Bland, Carmen Perez, Linda Sarsour and Tamika Mallory.[5]

References