I spent some time in the state police. Just under 30 years. For me this is personal. And it’s personal because I grew up in poverty. My mother is my hero. Frankly, she’s my greatest inspiration. She arrived in the United States when she was 14 and spoke no English. By 17 she had me and my brother. By 19, if she was ever married, she was divorced because my father left our house. And it was a good thing that he did because he was an abusive drunk and was very violent.

It’s personal because I understand what it’s like to be hungry. I understand what it’s like to be poor. And my mother’s an inspiration because once my father left, she realized, as we lived in a low-income housing project in the city of New York on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, that she was going to do something about that. That she was going to change our circumstances.

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Pedro Perez is committed to social justice and equity. He helps people in poverty gain access to education, sustainable employment, and entrepreneurial opportunities, exemplifying his commitment to equity and social justice. Dedicated to helping those living in poverty, Pedro strives to ensure diversity and inclusion are priorities for every organization with which he works. He rose to the rank of brigadier general in the New York State Police and served as acting superintendent during Governor Spitzer’s and Governor Paterson’s administrations. Pedro made New York State Police history by becoming the highest-ranking Afro-Caribbean Taíno Indian. Throughout his nearly 30-year tenure with this statewide policing agency, he advocated assertively and helped actualize for greater inclusion of minority men and women within its ranks.