JULISA PEREZ, 20
Julisa Pérez is the Executive College Director for IntegrateNYC a student-led, nonprofit organization that stands for integration and equality in New York City public schools. Pérez began her activism work in her high school, where she was Vice President of the Hispanos Unidos club. She set out to make an inclusive and welcoming environment for all by organizing panels and discussions to educate students on current events as well as elevate the voices of those that aren’t often heard.
Pérez’s advocacy at school led her to work with IntegrateNYC. Pérez started off as one of the founders of the Relationships Committee and has written policy proposals aimed at the Department of Education that push for culturally responsive education, social identities clubs, and ethnic studies courses. She was part of IntegrateNYC’s Leadership Council, traveling to Albany to speak with the board of regents on what they believe would transform their schools to equitably serve its students. As Executive College Director, Pérez has focused on internal strategic planning, facilitating meetings, and creating partnerships with other organizations, all while supporting her team in any way needed.
Pérez is currently studying political science at Brooklyn College and hopes to continue her work in elevating youth voice while fighting for justice.
Speech given to the School Diversity Advisory Group (SDAG)
by Julisa Pérez
Hello, I am Julisa Pérez and I am a college student and the Executive College Director at IntegrateNYC.
IntegrateNYC is thrilled to have our five R’s of Real Integration included in these recommendations. We believe it is necessary to tackle the issue of segregation in NYC public schools from all angles of students' experience. The lack of Relationships across group identities, unfair Race and Enrollment processes, Resource inequities, missing Representation of school faculty, and lack of Restorative Justice practices are all ways students have experienced segregation in the past. Having this report address all of these issues is a big step towards the Real Integration of NYC public schools.
We, the students of INYC, believe that schools must provide a diverse and inclusive environment for every NYC public school student. These recommendations urge bolder goals for integration that will demand action in local and citywide policy. We, the students, believe that the NYC department of education should provide an equitable distribution of resources across all high school programs. These recommendations highlight that the issue goes beyond dollars, and instead to what opportunities and experiences students have at their school including sports, arts, and advanced courses. We, the students, believe that there should be access to curriculum that teaches students about their history and the history of their peers. These recommendations include that all students have ethnic and culturally responsive courses that include religious literacy and disability studies. We, the students, believe that students shouldn’t be criminalized in their school. These recommendations affirm that all schools need to be working to end discipline disparities and the school to prison pipeline. We, the students, believe the staff in all schools must reflect the identities of the entire student population and are trained in culturally responsive practices. These recommendations urge the DOE to build an educator career pipeline for high school students and parent coordinators so our communities can lead our schools.
This report is a huge step towards transforming our public schools into having an equitable system that values students’ experiences. This will allow students that have been underrepresented obtain opportunities regardless of their identity.
We believe youth should be at the center of this movement and should have a voice in what will impact them the most. We invite students and educators and parents who believe in the power of young people to join us at IntegrateNYC. We are proud to have been involved in this group.
2019 marks the 65th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education. We urge Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carranza to take action and retire segregation.