was born in Aibonito, a tropical mountainous region of Puerto Rico, where her paternal grandfather farmed vegetables and sold coquito to raise a family of 9 children.
Her parents Angel Ortiz and Maria Rodriguez were the first in their families to graduate from college, and both worked as school teachers on the island. In the early 1990s, when Juliemar was just a year old, her parents moved her and her three older sisters to Bridgeport in search of new opportunities.
However, like many Latinx migrant families in America, Juliemar’s parents faced racial discrimination, especially in seeking employment. When her mother became ill, Juliemar’s father worked multiple jobs to sustain the family.
Grounded in faith, Juliemar’s family always remained joyful and celebrated everything life had to offer despite their struggles. Growing up in Bridgeport, Juliemar faced many of the same challenges local residents living in the Park City deal with today including food insecurity, homelessness, and community violence.
Juliemar attended five different
and grew up in various neighborhoods throughout the city, including the East End, Mill Hill, West Side, and the Hollow. While she always excelled academically, Juliemar was a shy student. Due to a stutter, she struggled to speak and was often bullied.
At Bassick High School, Juliemar took videography and graphic design classes and found her passion for broadcasting, becoming known as the “Voice of Bassick.” Juliemar was part of the videography team that created “The Pride of the Lions,” a documentary highlighting injustice in Bassick sports.
The film won Best Sports Documentary at the New York International Independent Film Festival— despite the fanfare from local elected leaders, however, no changes were made to address the issues.
Juliemar excelled beyond the classroom, leading the Bassick track and cross country teams as captain. She was dubbed “Bassick’s Lonesome Dove” for being the only girl in varsity cross country at her school, due to the lack of sports programs for girls in Bridgeport at the time.
Juliemar graduated in 2015 from Southern Connecticut State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Communications, becoming the first female manager of the SCSU TV station.
At SCSU, she also received the President’s Award and the Robin Marshall Glassman Outstanding Journalism Graduate Award.
bridgeport public schools
for the New Haven Register—covering public safety, politics, education, and breaking news—sparked Juliemar's interest in politics. Covering heightened racial and social unrest during the 2016 presidential election of Donald Trump would become a pivotal moment in Juliemar’s career.
Her Bridgeport roots and passion to make positive change in her community led to a decision to leave her journalism career to work at the State Capitol. She served in the Connecticut Senate Democratic Caucus as a press aide to seven state senators, including Bridgeport’s Senators Ed Gomes and Marilyn Moore. She was later appointed to serve as Press Secretary to Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz.
Being a journalist
At the Capitol,
Juliemar helped create community awareness about legislative and government issues— including the Fight for $15 minimum wage, women’s equal pay, police accountability, small business opportunities, community violence, environmental justice, the 2020 Census and more. She was also a part of Emerge Connecticut's Class of 2021, and served as the class speaker.
In 2020, Juliemar returned to Bridgeport as Government and Community Liaison for Park City Wind, Connecticut’s first offshore wind farm set to provide clean energy to 15% of the state.
Today, Juliemar works as an environmental educator and youth organizer at PT Partners, and resides near St. Vincent's Hospital. She enjoys spending quality time with her family, especially her five nieces and nephews.