Amara H. Pérez, PhD Picture

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 professional practitioners across sectors to bridge the theory/practice “divide.” In 2017 Amara partnered with Portland Community College to use CRT in facilities planning and design as a means to further the college’s strategic vision for equity and inclusion. Working closely with a cohort of 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.