Born in the Dominican Republic, Julia Mejia has lived most of her life in Dorchester, MA, where she began a life-long commitment to serving youth and families and raising awareness about issues affecting historically marginalized populations. At the age of eight, Julia began advocating on behalf of her mother and other non-English speaking parents who were often intimidated and underserved by the very agencies designed to address their needs. In addition to working on behalf of others, Julia also navigated her way to educational success, with limited structural support from her school, and ultimately became the first person in her family to graduate from high school and college.
Upon earning her BA from Mount Ida College, Julia began to hone her professional skills through pro-social work for both public and private sector organizations, including MTV, the Ad Council, Proctor & Gamble, The Center for Social Policy at UMass Boston, The Medical Foundation, The City School, the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute, Action for Boston Community Development, Goodwill Industries. After gaining professional experience and greater perspective on how to effect change in underserved communities, Julia decided to establish her own non-profit organization dedicated to informing, influencing, and inspiring policies aimed at enhancing the educational experiences and opportunities of vulnerable populations.
As the founder and Executive Director of the Collaborative Parent Leadership Action Network, (CPLAN), Julia works to improve educational policy and practice and strives to eliminate barriers to authentic engagement between families and policy-makers. One of Julia’s most important tasks has been to reframe and reclaim parents as partners, rather than consumers, in the educational enterprise. To achieve this paradigm shift, Julia has focused her attention on providing professional development to both parents and educators. Her work with parents is grounded in the belief that through information, collaboration, and support, parents can effect change in the educational system through both individual and collective actions. Additionally, she provides professional development and coaching to educators to ensure the successful implementation of school-wide and individualized family engagement plans.
In addition to being a devoted mother and the Executive Director of CPLAN, Julia is also the leader of the Determined Divas civic engagement project and serves on the Advisory Board of Directors for the Chica Project, the Leadership Council for the Dorchester Cares Coalition, and the Communities of Color Leadership Committee. Moreover, Julia has won multiple awards in recognition of her professional excellence in diversity/educational programming and her exceptional leadership in the fight for social justice.