Richie Pérez

b. 1944, South Bronx, NY …. d. 27 March 2004, Brooklyn, NY

Community organizer; anti-racist media activist

As a young high school teacher in the South Bronx, Richie Pérez was radicalized by the Black Panther Party, and by revolutionary Puerto Rican youth organization the Young Lords. After the Lords splintered in the late 1970s, Pérez continued teaching and organizing for community empowerment. He developed a keen interest in the early hip-hop scene, and the political aspects of cultural self-expression among urban minority communities. He also developed a strong critique of how mainstream media stereotyping of the same communities translated directly into political oppression and economic marginalization. In 1980, Pérez helped lead a community campaign targeting the racist and sexist film Fort Apache: The Bronx. That campaign, in turn, helped grow a broad national movement for fair representation and multiculturalism in entertainment media.

The media's job is to interest the public in the public interest. -John Dewey