As Resilience O.C., we want to announce our new Executive Director, Claudia Perez. Claudia began her involvement in youth and community organizing as an undocumented high school student in 2010. As an undocumented womxn of color, her participation was key in efforts that lead to the creation of RAIZ (Resistencia, Autonomia, Igualdad, lideraZgo) in December of 2011. Beginning as a RAIZ youth member, she quickly transitioned from attending people power popular education workshops, organizing collective community mural projects in Santa Ana, and co-coordinating art as a form of resistance workshops which lead to the creation of art used during annual May Day marches, to becoming one of the most committed and transformative youth mentors in Santa Ana.
From 2011 to 2012 and as part of the undocumented youth movement, Claudia participated in efforts in support of DACA and in local efforts helping undocumented youth learn about and apply for DACA. From 2012 to 2016, she co-organized annual Youth in Resistance Conferences engaging hundreds of youth each year. Between 2013-2014, Claudia became a trained RJ practitioner by CCEJ and Rita Alfred of the Restorative Justice Training Institute and was part of local efforts against the school-to-prison-to-deportation pipeline in Orange County. During the same period, she was part of a highly skilled and very effective local deportation defense team, which up to this day, has contributed to the stopping of over 20 deportations.
In 2014, she joined Santa Ana Boys and Men of Color (SABMoC) and launched the Santa Ana Girls and Womxn of Color (SAGWoC) project while becoming a Xinachtli Teaching Circles facilitator and while implementing restorative justice based alternatives to suspensions at Lorin Griset Academy as an RJ Implementation Specialist for the Santa Ana Unified School District (SAUSD). In 2016, RAIZ, SABMoC and SAGWoC merged to form Resilience Orange County. That year, Claudia became the first Director of our Youth Organizing Department and Co-Coordinator of the Orange County Girls and Womxn of Color (OCGWoC) project. Claudia received her Bachelor’s in Sociology from the University of California, Irvine in 2017. She is also a key partner in the Latino-Muslim Unity partnership.
As Executive Director of Resilience O.C., Claudia will continue the organizational commitment to the vision of nurturing a transformative movement and the mission of supporting resilient youth leaders in creating a transformative youth leadership pipeline in Orange County aiming towards social-systemic transformation while promoting healing, trauma-informed and culturally relevant practices that are inclusive of all members of the community. As a team, we honor the commitment and hard work of this powerful and courageous womxn of color, throughout all these years, and look forward to growing as an organization under her leadership.
– The Resilience OC Team