Posts by Pedro Perez:

Standing against the winds of chaos and failure

September 24, 2019 Published by

Sitting on the windowsill of my mother’s low-income apartment, I prayed my father would not fail to show up again. Tears poured down my cheeks. Confusion and anger set in, starting decades of chaos. How did I fail my father? What could I do to gain his love? It took... View Article

Break the silence

June 7, 2019 Published by

One crisp afternoon in October 1986, after working the overnight shift as a New York State trooper, I awakened to my six-year-old daughter crying. Hugging her, I asked. “Baby, what’s wrong?” “Kids at school teased me about my name.” “What did they say?” I asked. Shaking, she explained they said... View Article

Bootstraps: Economic mobility mythology and justice

April 30, 2019 Published by

Grueling tests and successful completion initiated the process and ultimately my acceptance into The New York State Police’s Elite Mobile Response Team (SWAT). Many failed to join the ranks. I was the first and for many years the only member of color on this team. As an Afro-Caribbean Taíno Indian,... View Article

Equity: The courage to be unfair

February 19, 2019 Published by

Before I accepted a position at Charlotte Family Housing and moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, I read Charlotte’s Leading on Opportunity report. I was immediately impressed by the earnest desire and unequivocal commitment of Charlotteans to change the city’s two and a half centuries of systemic discrimination and disenfranchisement of... View Article

Examining, understanding, and mitigating the benefits cliff effect

May 21, 2018 Published by

Ever since President Lyndon Johnson launched a set of domestic programs aimed at ending poverty and racial injustice, as a nation we have tried to reduce (if not eliminate) poverty, homelessness, and disenfranchisement. Those domestic programs range from the Food Stamp Act of 1964, the Social Security Amendments of 1965... View Article

Podcast: Changing Albany, New York, using the Bridges Out of Poverty model

January 5, 2018 Published by

I spent some time in the state police. Just under 30 years. For me this is personal. And it’s personal because I grew up in poverty. My mother is my hero. Frankly, she’s my greatest inspiration. She arrived in the United States when she was 14 and spoke no English.... View Article

How the criminal justice system can be an ally in the decriminalization of poverty

December 11, 2017 Published by

The beginning of America’s criminalization of poverty This nation has criminalized poverty from the very start. Between 1615 and 1699, English courts sent approximately 2,300 convicts to the American colonies as indentured servants. Jamestown, Virginia, used this free labor to work the profitable tobacco plantations. As Jamestown prospered and the... View Article

From barriers to engagement: Bringing people from poverty into the process

March 22, 2017 Published by

Not long ago I attended a conference conducted by a nationally known not-for-profit. The theme of this association’s conference was ending poverty. As I listened, it became apparent that the executives in the association had failed to ask people in poverty themselves what they thought would be useful in helping... View Article