Miriam Zoila Pérez is an award-winning queer Cuban-American writer and activist. Pérez graduated from Swarthmore College with High Honors in Anthropology in 2006 and has lived in various East Coast cities ever since. Their work, which mostly looks at the intersections of race, health and gender, is motivated by a desire to understand how the world shapes our bodies, and to explore all the many solutions that already exist for some of our biggest problems, but simply don’t get the attention they deserve.
Pérez is a freelance writer, and is the founder of Radical Doula, a blog that covers the intersections of birth activism and social justice from a doula’s perspective. Pérez’s writing has appeared in The New York Times, Colorlines, Splinter, The Nation, The American Prospect, MORE Magazine, Rewire.News and Talking Points Memo. Their TED talk: How Racism is Harming Pregnant Women–and What Can Help, has been viewed close to a million times. Pérez’s work has appeared in a number of anthologies, including Click, Yes Means Yes and Persistence and Not That Bad, a New York Times bestselling anthology edited by Roxane Gay. They were a 2010 Lambda Literary Foundation Emerging LGBT Voice in Non-Fiction. Pérez is the author of the self-published Radical Doula Guide: A Political Primer for Full-Spectrum Pregnancy and Childbirth Support, which is currently in its third printing. You might also know them from their work at Feministing.com, where they were an Editor for four years, during which the site was awarded the Sidney J Hillman Prize for Blog Journalism.
Pérez is the co-host of Radio Menea, a Latinx music podcast with Verónica Bayetti Flores. Called “the woke Latinx music podcast you should be listening to” by Remezcla and “the soundtrack to a queer mami’s sancocho” by Latina Magazine, Radio Menea is an entertaining bilingual journey through Latinx life and music.
Pérez got their start in the reproductive justice movement, where they worked for a decade, both online and off, including more than six years working with the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. They worked for five years as a consultant for social justice non-profits, focusing on digital communications.
Pérez is a frequent speaker nationwide and has spoken at over 70 colleges and universities on topics related to reproductive justice, feminism and Latinx activism. They also gave a talk at TEDx DePaul University in 2012 about what being a doula has taught them about compassion. Pérez is a former member of the Sistersong Women of Color Reproductive Health Collective Management Circle, and the former Board Chair of the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, where they served for 6 years.
Pérez has received various awards and recognitions for their work, including being named as one of 200 people who embody the values of Frederick Douglass in 2018 (alongside amazing folks like Michelle and Barack Obama, Oprah and Shakira), a 2009 Young Woman of Achievement Award from the Women’s Information Network and a 2010 Barbara Seaman Award for Activism in Women’s Health from the National Women’s Health Network. They were included in a MORE Magazine feature about new feminists to pay attention to, Curve Magazine named them Best Activist/Newcomer in 2010 and Latina Magazine profiled them as part of their 15th anniversary “Future 15.”
Pérez lives in Washington, DC and is cultivating a new obsession with houseplants.