Gloria Perez-Stewart: Bio and Professional Experience

Although I am a lawyer, I identify most as a parent of a child with disabilities—because my life was forever changed after my son was diagnosed with disabilities. As a parent, I know the difficulties I have faced— and which my son and all people with disabilities face — in accessing critical special education, regional center, insurance, and government services.  

As a divorced mother, a Latina/woman of color, and a person from a working-class background—I am also aware of the institutional biases, discrimination, and pressures that come into play when attempting to access these services and the barriers that are present for such families.  

My passion is access to justice for people with disabilities and their families, and in working with underserved populations: I've worked for ACLU on the Texas border, and as a community organizer for both Industrial Areas Foundation and National Council of La Raza.  

As an organizer, I started two parent groups: Latina Mami and Ichi Villa Alliance for Autism in Northeast Los Angeles; two volunteer-run, grassroots organizations. As a disability advocate, I worked for private attorneys and firms in Austin Texas and Los Angeles. I have also worked for nonprofits as a disability advocate: Disability Rights Texas, and as a pro bono advocate for Disability Rights Legal Center in Los Angeles.  

My J.D. is from Peoples College of Law in Los Angeles, a social justice and activist law school with a long leftist history. 

Organizing/Advocacy Experience

  • National Council of La Raza, Organizer and Capacity Building Strategist

  • COPAA (Council of Parents, Attorneys, and Advocates) (former) Board Member

  • Cirkiel and Associates Law Firm, Advocate

  • ACLU of TX, Organizer, School to Prison Pipeline Project

  • Advocacy, Inc., Special Education/Disability Advocate

  • Travis County MHMR, Advocate

  • Latina Mami, Advocate and Organizer (Austin, TX and Los Angeles, CA)

  • Texans For Midwifery

  • KOOP Radio

Community Involvement/Leadership

  • Peoples College of Law, Board President and Law Instructor

  • Statewide Advisory Commission on Special Education, Commissioner

  • National Allies for Parents in Special Education, Member

  • American Bar Association, Member

  • LA County Bar Association, Member

  • California Bar Association, Member

  • Academy of Special Needs Planners, Member

  • Latina Lawyers Bar Association, Member

  • Disability Rights Legal Center of Los Angeles, Pro Bono Special Ed Advocate

  • Volunteer Coordinator, Foundation Communities

  • Host, “Mamis of Color” radio show, 91.7 FM

  • Founder/Board Member, Latina Mami

  • Board Member, Texans for Midwifery

  • KOOP Radio Board Member

  • Graduate of Partners in Policymaking

  • Member, Autism Regional Task Force

  • Election Committee Chair, KOOP Radio

  • Austin ISD Special Education Citizen’s Advisory & Bilingual Committee

  • Member, March of Dimes Program Services Committee

  • Professional Trainings/Workshops Attended

  • Midwest Academy, Community Organizing training

  • La Tapizca, Community Organizing/Popular Education training

  • Texas Bar Association, Special Education and Juvenile Justice

  • National Organizer Training, Industrial Areas Foundation

  • Wrightslaw Bootcamp Advocacy Training

  • Partners in Policymaking (yearlong advocacy training)

  • Texas Council on Family Violence Organizer Training

  • Incite! Women of Color Against Violence National Organizer Training

  • Latina Mami Leadership Training

Professional Trainings/Workshops Presented

  • “Special Education Representation from a Parent Perspective”, Practicing Law Institute, San Francisco, CA

  • “Manifestation Determination Reviews in the Special Education Setting”, 2018 National Allies for Parents in Special Education (NAPSE) Annual Conference, Charlotte, NC

  • “Common School District Road Blocks”, 2018 National Allies for Parents in Special Education (NAPSE) Annual Conference, Charlotte, NC

  • “Racial Disparity in Special Education”, COPAA 2016 National Conference, Baltimore, MD

  • “Special Education Representation from a Social Justice Perspective”, COPAA 2015National Conference, San Diego, CA

  • “School Discipline And Your Child With Special Needs”, Njoy Foundation, Ft Worth, TX

  • “The Reality of Special Education”, Child Protective Services, San Antonio, TX

  • “Special Education Rights and Discipline in Texas Schools”, ACLU, Laredo, TX

  • “Community Organizing Through Public Radio”, Allied Media Conference, Detroit, MI

  • “Understanding Special Education Law & Your Child’s Rights”, Advocacy, Inc, Austin, TX

  • “Disability and Domestic Violence Survivors”, Advocacy, Inc, Waco, TX

  • “Emotional Aspects of Working With Families with High-Needs”, Travis County MHMR

  • “Understanding the Special Education Process”, Latina Mami Platica Series, Austin, TX

  • “Your Child’s Rights within Special Education”, Latina Mami Platica Series, Austin, TX

  • “The Needs of Diverse Families”, Family Connections Resource Fair, Austin, TX

  • “Organizing around Issues Affecting Your Community”, Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA), Austin, TX

  • “Mothering High Needs Children and Depression”, UT Family Connections , Austin, TX

  • “Working with Hispanic Families”, Family Connections Resource Fair, Austin, TX