Brenda Perez: an unstoppable voice for the Latinx community

Spanish radio show “Radio Centro’’ has a new home at KZZH-FM in Eureka. The show airs on 96.7 and is hosted by Brenda Pérez, who was a former co-host to KHSU’s “Charlando con la Raza.”

On the show, Pérez talks about the struggles of the immigrant community and discusses other issues that plague the Latinx community in Humboldt County.

“Radio Centro” provides Spanish radio content for Humboldt County residents by a local resident. Pérez thinks radio space in Spanish is important for cultivating community connections and creating a space inclusive to Latinx individuals.

“All the struggles we face as a migrant community when you hear your voice amplified in this way it gives you courage,” said Pérez. “I do this so people who hear it at home feel identified and hopefully feel less alone.”

This isn’t the first time Pérez is involved in radio. Pérez was a co-host for the bilingual radio show “Charlando con la Raza” aired through KHSU’s “Radio Bilingüe.” She used her time on the air as a platform to empower and mobilize the Latinx community, specifically Latinx immigrants.

“I have the responsibility of advocating, of providing a voice,” said Pérez recognizing her legal status as a privilege. “We overcome fear because the threat of injustice is much greater.”

Pérez recognizes that without mobilizing populations against injustices, the injustices will just keep growing and destroying morale.

Beyond the airwaves
In addition to her work on the radio, Pérez spends a great amount of time organizing community events with Centro del Pueblo. With their help, she has helped achieve historical measures to protect the immigrant community in Humboldt County.

Renee Saucedo was serving as the front for Centro del Pueblo until recently when she made the difficult decision to leave Humboldt County.

Saucedo is certain that Pérez’s leadership will inspire others.

“Brenda is one of those people that remain 100% unconditionally accountable to the base of our community,” said Saucedo.

In the three years she has been here, Pérez made it her mission to provide an inclusive space for Latinx individuals. With fire in her veins and promise in her eyes, Pérez fights for a space in Humboldt County inclusive of Latinx culture.

Three years ago, Pérez left Mexico in pursuit of furthering her research on marijuana cultivation and its effects on politics of control. She is in the process of completing her Ph.D. at Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, specializing in Latin American Studies.

She quickly realized how ostracised the Latinx culture is in Humboldt. Pérez understands that people are hesitant to take up space because of the tense political climate and fear of retaliation. This didn’t settle well for Pérez. She comes from a culture of social protest and could not fathom living in the margins.

Mobilizing the Community
In November of 2018, Pérez and Saucedo mobilized Centro del Pueblo to help pass Measure K in the ballots. This measure was the first of its kind successfully making Humboldt a sanctuary county. Octavio Acosta admires Pérez’s perseverance through this process.

“She has that attitude of ‘I’m gonna do it because I’m gonna do it god damn!’, and that’s exactly what’s needed,” he said.

Moving forward, Pérez hopes to continue providing radio content for Spanish speaking folk. She is also working with Centro del Pueblo to bring Latinx art into the spotlight.

“Elections are coming and instead of being displayed very badly in the newspapers, we want to be displayed because of the art we provide to the community,” said Pérez.

Kevin Martinez, also involved in the passing of Measure K, recalls Saucedo and Pérez encouraging and shaping leaders within the Latinx community.

“They set the examples themselves of what commitment looks like, what discipline looks like,” he said. “They set the example of what we aspire to be and what we can achieve.”

New “Radio Centro” episodes air Saturdays at 2 p.m. on KZZH’s radio station 96.7 F.M., while re-runs are aired throughout the week.

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