SCUP

 

Amara H. Pérez

Amara H. Pérez

Critical Race Spatial Educator, Researcher, and Strategist

Amara is a long-time social justice educator, community organizer, community-engaged researcher, and critical strategist. For over 25 years her work in and with communities of color in Portland has been informed by popular education, critical theories, and participatory action research. Drawing from critical pedagogy, critical race theory (CRT), and spatial theory, her research examines the role of planning, design, and built environments in maintaining structural oppression. She also studies how critical race spatial praxis can be used as a methodology for spatial justice within educational institutions and local communities. Her professional experience advancing equity strategies within educational settings combined with her community–based experience working for local social change, has enabled her to work with diverse interdisciplinary teams across sectors. In 2017, Amara partnered with Portland Community College to use CRT in facilities planning and design to further the college’s strategic vision for equity and inclusion. Working closely with students as co-researchers has resulted in institutional change at the college including the use of CRT as a central strategy for community engagement in a range of district-wide planning and construction projects. Since then, Amara has partnered with other educational institutions like Seattle Public Schools, Portland State University, and Portland Public Schools to introduce and use a critical race spatial lens in facilities planning and capital projects aimed to support racial equity and social justice.