Welcoming Our Executive Director, Myriam Ortiz!
Myriam Ortiz is a mother, artist and anti-colonial activist. She was born in Puerto Rico and moved to Boston in 1998 to complete graduate studies on Women in Politics and Government at UMASS Boston. She is theformer Executive Director of the Boston Parent Organizing Network (BPON), a non-profit established in 1999 to organize and support parents and families to hold theBoston Public Schools accountable for providing a quality education for all students. In that capacity, Myriam served as a member of the School Quality Working Group tasked with developing indicators of quality for Boston Public Schools. She also served on several local advisory boards and committees including the Boston Children Thrive in 5 Advisory Group, the New Bostonians k-12 Working Group and the Office of Family and Student Engagement Advisory Group for theBoston Public Schools. She was a Steering Committee member for the Boston United for Students Coalition (BUS) that gave voice to parents, students and community members in the negotiation of the Boston Public Schools teacher's contract. Myriam served as one of the first 15 Family and Community Outreach Coordinators for Boston Public Schools for a few years. She is currently a member of the "Let's Go There" female artists collective. She is also one of the organizers for "Break the Chains", a semi-monthly all ages, all gender, all genre dance party featuring nationally touring queer and trans performers. Myriam has been recognized byCity and State Officials for her commitment and dedication to the Latino Community in Boston and for her efforts in the passing of education reform legislation in Massachusetts.
Share a little more about your background in organizing and activism.
My organizing skills developed as a youth leader in my church back in Puerto Rico. By age 16, I was leading a group of 30 plus youth from my community. During my college years I was active in campaigns to support squatter communities in some parts of the island and my last year of college came to Boston for a summer exchange program and fell in love with the City. Hard to believe it's been 17 years since I moved here!
What was a turning point for you as a young person or young adult in moving into social justice work?
I remember vividly when the United States invaded Panama and the realization that my country was just as vulnerable by being a colony of the United States. From that day forward I started learning more and supporting the struggle for Puerto Rican independence as well as the many anti colonial struggles across the globe.
What are some of the issues that you're passionate about, and why?
I'm passionate about all struggles for liberation. I believe that oppressed people have a right to resist their oppressor and to defend themselves by any means necessary. I have worked as an advocate for quality education in Boston organizing parents and students to ensure better schools. I am also passionate about the fight for the liberation of political prisoners in this country.
What are you most excited for in stepping into this role of Executive Director?
I love young minds and young spirits. The energy of young people is what excites met he most about this role. I hope to be able to connect deeper with youth struggles and provide guidance and understanding to support growth collectively.
Which social justice activist(s) would you want to have coffee with, and why?
Imagine me having coffee with Harriet Tubman and Lolita Lebron! Actually if I could just be a fly on the wall while they are having coffee it would just be as good. These women represent to me the ultimate role models. Their love for freedom and for their people moved them. I can only wish for my heart to continue to develop and expand to keep moving all our struggles forward with diligence and determination.
E-mail Myriam at firstname.lastname@example.org to welcome her to The City School!