Gabriel Perez is a Programming Intern at Pilot Light and is responsible for supporting the staff in program development and social media. Gabriel grew up in Salinas, California, and currently resides in Chicago, Illinois. He is currently a student at the University of Chicago majoring in Religious Studies. Gabriel has worked previously as a Youth Leader/Coordinator at Building Healthy Communities, a California Endowment-backed group of residents and community-based organizations that are working to support community engagement and leadership in Salinas. Gabriel was head of the youth-organized community event Ciclovia Salinas from 2017 to 2020, until leaving for university in Chicago. In addition to his time at Building Healthy Communities, Gabriel also formed a student-run higher education opportunity organization to assist his underrepresented and under-resourced peers in high school.
It was his time at Building Healthy Communities that cultivated his knowledge in the social justice sphere, ranging from youth organization among peers to educating his community on voting rights, health resources, and food justice. He applied this knowledge and service-oriented mindset to his peers. He hopes to continue to use this experience with further community work however he can. When not working, Gabriel enjoys cooking cultural dishes, reading about religion, and playing basketball.