Director of Family Support Services,
Latino Outreach & Parenting Programs, The Children’s Home Society of New Jersey
Maritza Raimundi–Petroski was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey and raised in San Sebastián, Puerto Rico. She and her family returned to New Jersey so that she could complete her final two years of high school at Franklin High School in Somerset, New Jersey. After graduating in the top 10% of her class, Ms. Raimundi–Petroski attended Rutgers College where, in addition to completing a double major in Spanish and Puerto Rican & Hispanic Caribbean Studies, she was deeply involved in student organizations whose focus was on the needs of the Hispanic members of the student body. She is also the recipient of an Executive Master of Public Administration from Rutgers University, where her research focused on the differences between workforce diversity and cultural competency. While completing her education, Ms. Raimundi–Petroski served as an Approved Community Volunteer for the Education Department at the New Jersey State Prison. As a volunteer, she offered her services to such programs as Hispanic Americans for Progress (HAP) and the Hispanic Education Literacy Program (HELP). She also helped the inmates develop the Support for Kids at Risk Program (SKAR). She currently works at the Children’s Home Society of New Jersey as their Director of Family Support Services, Latino Outreach & Parenting Programs. In addition to her work in the community, Ms. Raimundi–Petroski is an accomplished poet who performed her spoken word pieces under the name “Midnight Luna,” and a maker of Caretas de Vejigante (vejigante masks) which have been displayed at Rutgers University’s Stedman Art Gallery in Camden, New Jersey.
Prepared by Elizabeth Parker, Associate Archivist.
Hear Maritza Raimundi–Petroski discuss the long–term impact of mandatory sentencing guidelines on young offenders in the prison system:
“[Regarding mandatory sentencing] I don’t know if my opinion now is the same as it was when I was… younger. I think that a lot [more] can be done to educate the community about what this [mandatory sentencing guidelines] really means. For the youth that finds themselves… involved in mandatory sentences, I think that sometimes the law is stretched [too far] and we find ourselves with really good individuals that end up–maybe victims is… the wrong word to use–but end up in a place where they should not be. You know, the 16 year old, the 17 year old… maybe other things could have been provided or done [for them]… you lose their soul; they lose their souls in prison… as a result of a mandatory sentence. You know, there were many of the inmates that we would work with, and I remember one of them, …Louie, and he would say, I would never know what it is to marry a woman. I would never know what it is for someone to call me a grandfather. I would never know what it is to make love to a woman. I would never know–because [of]… the choices that he made.”
Text edited for clarity. For a full verbatim transcript of the quote, please see p. 35 of the complete interview transcript.
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