Remembering Dr. Julia Perilla
Thursday, November 1st, 2018
On October 25, 2018, Dr. Julia Perilla, co-founder of Caminar Latino in Atlanta, Georgia, and the first director of Casa de Esperanza’s National Latin@ Research Center on Family and Social Change, passed away.
Before her retirement in 2016, Julia was a clinical community psychologist and faculty member in the Psychology Department at Georgia State University (GSU) and had directed Casa de Esperanza’s research center at GSU since 2008. Her work in the areas of domestic violence, diversity, Latino families, and trauma, used a human rights and social justice framework which she applied to her research and interventions with immigrant communities.
Julia was widely recognized for her academic and community focused research and her leadership and participation in numerous initiatives and boards, both locally and nationally. In 2016, we had the opportunity to celebrate with Julia her many contributions to the field and to Casa de Esperanza.
Our staff and board are thinking of Julia’s family, the staff and board of Caminar Latino, and friends, including all of the wonderful Latin@ graduate students she mentored over the years.
Some personal reflections
Rebecca Rodriguez, Ph.D., Director of Research and Evaluation:
“It’s difficult for me to articulate how much Julia meant to me, to her colleagues and to the field. I was lucky to have studied under Julia’s mentorship for 7 years in graduate school along with my peers Lillie Macias, Josie Serrata, Alvina Rosales, Joanna Weinberg, and Carrie Lippy. Julia’s guidance was invaluable as she brought us into Caminar Latino where we spent so many nights learning from family advocates and survivors on how to listen and respond to the needs of the community. This type of education was and still is unique in our field and I can only hope that I continue to pursue my work with as much humility, love, and care as she did.”
Rosie Hidalgo, JD, Senior Director of Public Policy:
“Julia was one of the most important mentors for me in this movement and I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to get to know her (starting back in 1999) and to work with her in many different initiatives. It has been amazing to see firsthand over the past two decades all the ways her visionary spirit and dedication has impacted the lives of survivors, their families, and their communities; as well as how it has impacted the efforts of the Latin@ community nationally to prevent and improve the response to DV, and has impacted the field as a whole.
I will miss Julia, her wisdom, humility, courage, visionary spirit, authenticity, compassion, and dedication. As an immigrant survivor, she overcame many challenges and barriers to become a pioneer in the movement and pushed the boundaries to truly demonstrate what survivor-centered advocacy meant. Hers was truly a life well-lived and we stand on her shoulders to try to continue her legacy.”
Josie Serrata, Ph.D., Independent Research and Evaluation Consultant and former Director of Research and Evaluation at Casa de Esperanza/National Latin@ Network:
“This week we lost my academic mother. She meant so much to so many. For me, she opened the door for my Ph.D. program when so many others had not. She embodied being grounded in the Latina community even though it cost her being valued in academia! She stood strong in her values of community strength and never faltered. She showed me that I could be a scholar mom and that I didn’t have to give up who I was or where I came from to walk among other scholars and in fact that this chola from San Anto could lead and create change for others like me!! I will be forever grateful for what she did for me and for so, so many. I commit to continue her legacy and luchar (fight) side by side with my immigrant community and other marginalized groups here and far! Julia, please Rest In Power knowing that we will continue your legacy. We’ve got it from here!!!”
Etiony Aldarondo, Ph.D., Casa de Esperanza Board Member and Executive Director of the Melissa Institute for Violence Prevention and Treatment, School of Education & Human Development, University of Miami:
“I am very grateful for having had Julia in my life for the last 23 years. I admired and tried to emulate her kind, open, and wise ways. She was a great friend and teacher.”
Julia was a visionary — she believed in community and that we all have the ability to make change. She was an educator who has influenced so many across the movement for so many years. Julia and Lupe Serrano, our long-term leader and visionary, were both pioneers in lifting up Latin@ realities and the issues of domestic violence. It was a given that they would become sisters in this work, learning from and teaching each other along the way. After Lupe’s passing in 2009, Julia shared with me how blessed she was for having known Lupe and how blessed we were at Casa de Esperanza for having Lupe in our lives. We are also blessed for having had Julia in our lives.
I treasure the contributions and the love Julia has shared with us; her wisdom and influence will be with me forever.
With love and solidarity,
CEO, Casa de Esperanza
Below are links to two of the many articles, studies, and papers Julia was involved in along with a link to an interview done in 2006 where Julia is asked about her perspective on domestic violence.