Maritza Perez is a Soros Justice Fellow at the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) in Washington, DC. She advocates for policies to end mass incarceration and the disproportionate representation of Latinos in the criminal legal system. Before joining MALDEF, Ms. Perez attended UC Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall), graduating in 2015. As a law student, she participated in efforts related to criminal justice reform, diversity and inclusion, immigrant rights, and education access for disadvantaged students. Prior to law school, Ms. Perez taught for two years in New Orleans with Teach For America. She developed her passion for social justice at the University of Nevada, Reno, where she championed progressive causes before graduating magna cum laude in 2010. As an undergraduate, she interned for the Obama for America campaign in her homestate of Nevada and in the Office of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in Washington, DC. Her longstanding commitment to serving underrepresented people through law and policy earned her a spot in the Huffington Post’s “40 Under 40: Latinos in American Politics” list of 2014.
She was a 2016-2017 participant in AICGS’ “Transatlantic Exchange Program for Young Minorities: Giving Voice to Future Leaders,” sponsored by the Transatlantik-Programm der Bundesrepublik Deutschland aus Mitteln des European Recovery Program (ERP) des Bundesministeriums für Wirtschaft und Energie (BMWi).