Dr. Raul Fernandez is an educator, activist, and organizer who brings people together to find common ground for creating social change.
He is a Brookline Town Meeting Member and an Associate Dean for Equity, Diversity & Inclusion at Boston University. He is also a Lecturer in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies and has led equity and inclusion workshops around the country and internationally.
Raul is the son of retired transit union workers (TWU 100). His father, also named Raul, was born in New York and started his career cleaning trains; he later became a conductor and train operator. His mother, Ivonne, was born in Puerto Rico and worked as a bus mechanic and later as a train conductor. They met during their first year of college at SUNY New Paltz and decided to raise their family, Raul and his sister, Delia, in Spanish Harlem and later in the South Bronx.
They started as a low-income family and moved to working-class year by year thanks to their good, steady union jobs. While his parents valued education greatly, Raul received a boost from a teacher that redirected his educational path. Ms. Friedlander recognized Raul’s talents and selected him among her class of pre-kindergarteners to go to specialized public schools, The Talented & Gifted School, Manhattan East, and finally Bronx Science.
Having been chosen at the age of four to have the benefits of excellent educational resources while other talented kids were left to struggle in underserved schools has motivated Raul to push for educational equity in Brookline and beyond.
Appointed to the Racial Imbalance Advisory Committee (RIAC) of the Mass. Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Raul researched school segregation and expanded the dialogue about eliminating racial imbalances in our school systems statewide.
Working with Brookline for Racial Justice & Equity (BRJE), Raul has met with people at all levels — students, teachers, parents, school committee members, and school administrators — to ensure that every student has opportunities that will lead to the best outcomes and that all educators receive wages and benefits worthy of their contributions to our community.
Raul has benefited from working abroad, where he engaged high school and college students in transformative social justice programs in Haiti, Honduras, Israel, and Rwanda. He also visited the camp at Puerta del Sol in Madrid, a predecessor of the Occupy Movement, in which he also took part in Boston and Washington, D.C. These experiences fueled Raul’s belief that speaking out against injustice is a moral imperative and that public dialogue and personal narratives can drive systemic change.
This realization inspired Raul to create the Wide Lens film series with Brookline’s Coolidge Corner Theatre. In its first year, this program has engaged diverse groups of panelists to discuss the intersections of race, gender, sexuality, income, and immigration status. Raul doesn’t just think we need to talk more, he’s created a venue for hundreds of us to listen, learn, and take action.
Raul is not just an activist and convener – he’s a talented taskmaster and strategic planner, having managed many budgets and supervised numerous professional staff members. He’s taught a course on legal issues, and he brings a systems-focused, analytical approach to solving problems.
Raul listens to people, values them, and brings them together for a common purpose. He’s got the right temperament for the Select Board. He is calm under pressure and will work comfortably with everyone to move Brookline forward.
Raul is ready to lead and would be honored to have your vote for Select Board on May 7th.