Carmen Perez is an award-winning, internationally-known civil and human rights leader and Chicana feminist. Before joining REFORM as the Chief of Staff, Carmen served as the President & CEO of The Gathering for Justice, co-founder of Justice League NYC | CA, and co-founder of Poderistas. She has dedicated her 20-year career to advocating for many of today’s important civil rights issues, including stopping mass incarceration, gender equity, violence prevention, racial justice, Black and Brown solidarity, and community policing. Under the mentorship of 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.
Carmen co-founded Justice League NYC and Justice League CA, two state-based task forces for advancing a juvenile and criminal justice reform agenda, through which she has led numerous mobilizations including the 9-day, 250-mile March 2 Justice in 2015 and the March for Stolen Lives & Looted Dreams, which brought over 35,000 to the streets in June 2020. She was one of the National Co-Chairs of the 2017 Women’s March on Washington, which 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, and she continues to serve on the board of the Women’s March organization. An established thought leader in racial justice and intersectional feminism, Carmen has spearheaded campaigns to Take a Knee with Colin Kaepernick, Free Meek Mill, Free Pedro Hernandez, and involves influencers, artists, and athletes in cultural organizing and groundbreaking policy advocacy in New York, California and nationally. She’s collaborated with many social justice organizations and influencers like Ebro Darden, Jackie Cruz, Kenny Stills, America Ferrara, Eva Longoria, Common, Immortal Technique, Mysonne, and others.
Carmen has mentored many of today’s recognized young leaders and created curricula for numerous trainings on intersectional coalition-building and contemporary social justice. She has been named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People, Fortune’s 50 Top World Leaders, and Glamour’s Women of the Year in 2017. She’s received the Global Activist Award from Women that Soar and the Justice, Peace, and Freedom Award from the 2017 AFL-CIO Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Civil and Human Rights Awards. She was named 2017 “Latina of the Year ” and in 2018 was Forbes Mexico’s 100 Mujeres Mas Poderosas. Carmen has been a featured speaker at prestigious universities including Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Stanford, the University of California Santa Cruz, and she’s given keynotes speeches for audiences as diverse as Peloton, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and prisons in California, New York, and El Salvador. She has appeared in numerous media publications including Forbes, TIME, Newsweek, MSNBC, Univision, ELLE, Glamour, Bustle, Common Dreams, and more.
Carmen’s favorite title, however, is mother of two young children.