Cherie Cruz is a first generation college student who transcended her own personal family history of incarceration and involvement with the criminal justice system to now hold two Degrees from Brown University, a Bachelor’s Degree in Education Cum Laude, and a Master’s Degree in Urban Education Policy as a UEP Fellow. Cherie has been an active member in her community working toward empowering families in policy-related initiatives and various grassroots campaigns. These include organizing and incorporating the first Parent Teacher Student Organization in Central Falls, advocating for people who are directly impacted through the Right to Vote Campaign, parents’ right to volunteer in school and for “Fair Chance Licensing.”
Cherie’s leadership activities include serving as a board member of the Transcending Through Education Foundation and the ReEntry Campus Program, both of which work to reverse the school-to-prison pipeline. Along with other directly impacted Rhode Islanders she co-founded the Formerly Incarcerated Union of RI, a membership driven organization working to empower and support people who have been directly impacted by the criminal injustice system. Cherie is also an Executive Board member of the ACLU of Rhode Island, serving as Chair and Vice Chair. She was recently named ACLU of RI Lay Leader of the Decade, 2009-2019.