Ari Peró

BS Candidate in Urban Science and Music ('25)

Ari Peró has been committed to effecting political change since before they were old enough to vote. Since February 2018, they have been at the forefront of shaping national legislation as a founding member of Students Demand Action: Miami. Ari is guided by the principle of "pay it forward and pay it back," inspiring peers to harness their political agency and empowering them with tools for tangible transformation.

Their interests converge around critical issues such as housing justice, leveraging social media for amplifying advocacy groups, environmentally conscious planning through indigenous and reparative paradigms, and holistic criminal justice reform––fighting for both racial and LGBTQ+ justice within the context of reducing incarceration. Utilizing technology, programming, machine vision, and urban science principles, they strive to drive transformation in these domains.

Originally from South Side, Chicago, IL, and now based in Miami, FL, Ari has spent the past two years anchoring their experiences at MIT in their desire to empower others: as an Active Community Engagement FPOP Coordinator, they introduce first-years to campus life through meticulously developed social justice workshops and service placements with local nonprofits. Ari also serves as a Teaching Assistant for the MITES Summer program and a TSR^2 Facilitator and Computer Programming Tutor within the Office of Minority Education (OME), providing educational support and resources to fellow students to foster a diverse and inclusive learning environment. Additionally, as a dedicated PLEASURE Educator, Ari contributes to eradicating sexual violence at MIT by leading educational presentations on topics like contraception and healthy relationships for athletes and FSILGs.

Their commitment to public service has been recognized through accolades including selection as the OME’s 2022-2023 Distinguished Peer in Public Service. They are also recognized as a Miami Ortega Foundation Scholar and Point Foundation Flagship Scholar and Spokesperson since 2021.

Last fall, Ari assumed the presidency of G@MIT, MIT's LGBTQ+ cultural and activist organization. Through this office, they work to establish dedicated spaces for students with intersectional identities, foster constructive dialogue between queer students and MIT administration, and organize inclusive events for affirming LGBTQ+ experiences on campus.

Ari has also been deeply involved in raising awareness of the countless injustices experienced by transgender individuals via their artistic pursuits. Their recent video installations and live performances explore the ongoing impact of their community’s history on present-day dynamics (shared fears and behaviors). These pieces capture Ari’s own emotions as a trans, Afro-Indigenous activist navigating complex systems of power and oppression, while shedding light on many of the less “palatable” and often overlooked challenges faced by black transgender women. This narrative extends into the context of NYC ballroom culture and the 80s AIDS crisis. Ari intends to leverage these projects as a conduit for enlightening allies on the trans experience.

Before embarking on double majors in Urban Science & Planning with Computer Science and Music at MIT, Ari's foundation was classical vocal performance at their magnet arts high school. Their participation in the MIT Concert Choir, Chamber Chorus, Vocal Jazz Ensemble, and Rambax Senegalese Drum Ensemble underscores their passion for music and artistic expression.