Year of Graduation: 1986
When Julio Peterson ’86 was a teenager, he worked as a delivery boy for a high-end pharmacy and was awed by the universe of worlds that existed outside his neighborhood. “I walked everywhere and was intrigued by the multidimensional space of the city — the architecture, layout of the streets, the movement and energy, the people, cultures, races, the grit, and the wealth gap between the rich and poor,” he says.
In 1970s New York, he recalls there were a lot of vacant lots and abandoned buildings. “My mother and a group of other poor families took over an abandoned building and fixed it up,” says the 54-year-old, who is one of six children born in northern Manhattan to parents from the Dominican Republic. “We were poor, but we had agency. We were squatters fighting for housing and human rights.”
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