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Luis Perez, BLA '16

Luis Perez

Luis was born in the Dominican Republic to an architect and a cosmetic buyer for a pharmaceutical distribution company in the mid 1980s. After much hardship, his family eventually emigrated to the Bronx, NY with tourist visas and the hope that their status as visitors would change to permanent somehow. After overstaying their visas, they were considered undocumented or, more commonly known, "Illegal" immigrants. This status remained throughout his family's entire experience in New York City. Luis shared a one-bedroom apartment in one of the city's thousands of tenement buildings with four other family members. His experience in the Bronx was of community, cross-culturalism, and more often than not, violence; a true melting pot. This experience instilled in Luis a heightened awareness of the environment that surrounded him and the impacts such an environment has on people's daily lives. Whether it was watching out for gang-bangers and muggers or trying to deflect any confrontation with the police, Luis found any means possible to avoid conflict and any other risk of exposing his family's immigration status.

Following countless attempts at assimilation and integration, his parents were unsuccessful at providing any alternative but to uproot again and go back to the land that birthed them. During the time he spent as a young adult in the Dominican Republic, his awareness of the world and others grew deeper, as well as an invaluable perspective on how injustice and inequality can breed unsafe places for people. Through these experiences and perspectives, he has developed a drive to advocate for spaces that are safe and accessible to people of all walks of life and abilities.

These set of values, coupled with his academic and professional background in landscape architecture at the Boston Architectural College, have made Luis a strong advocate for public land and their benefits to people and wildlife. After holding a few design positions in reputable firms, Luis is currently working for the City of Newton Parks and Recreation Department to protect and enhance public open space so that they may continue to forge memories and renewed experiences to coming generations.