“Dedicated community and labor activist Jaime Martinez, of San Antonio passed away on Sunday, July 16. The Labor Movement and the Farmworkers Movement lost a great friend and true leader in the struggle for Justice. Jaime worked tirelessly to help farmworkers in California and Texas advance La Causa.
After Cesar Chavez died in 1993, Jaime made it his personal mission to educate people in his native San Antonio about Cesar’s life and legacy. In 1996 Jaime organized the first Annual Cesar Chavez March for Justice and led it for 21 years after that. Each year thousands of people, including a strong group representing UFW members in Texas, marched through San Antonio to celebrate Cesar’s life. Now they will also recognize and remember Jaime Martinez as a pioneer leader of the Latino community.”
Words by Juanita Valdez-Cox
For a complete obituary of Jamie Martinez Click Here
Here is an excerpt from a radio interview he did with the University of Texas at Arlington Center for Mexican American Studies: Tejano Voices.
“Well, I, I hope that, that the future generations would realize that nothing comes easy. There’s a lot of struggle and we’re never going to end racism and violations of human rights in America. But we can do something about those injustices, economic conditions of our people if we join together and put differences aside from all. Well, I don’t like that person, I don’t like this person. But we all come together in a consensus to talk on issues that affect us, on issues that maybe I, I have a certain issue, you have another issue, we can come to, to join together and, and, and it’s going to have to start in the home with the mother and the father, grandmother,abuelita, abuelito (grandmother, grandfather), whoever to, to, what, what, what we can do to improve the status politically. And education is very important and the right to vote and your vote is very important and how you use your vote is very important. Don’t sell it out cheap to somebody. You know who you are supporting. The changes come by people that we elect and those people have to be held accountable to how they act. If they are not representing our interests, then we have to do something about it. Get them out of office and start the process again. Nobody has a hold for life on an office. We can do something about it if we join together and make those changes. But you have to get involved. And involvement, it might be one year or like me, it’s thirty something years. And still I know that I need to do a lot more to work for unifying our organizations with other organizations, but it’s a never ending struggle for justice and for democracy and to defend our way of life, our culture, our heritage. Nobody can take away my language. Nobody can take away, there cannot be any law that says you cannot speak Spanish anymore. There cannot be any laws that says well, you have to change your way of life because of this law. Your heritage, your upbringing are gifts that you have that they can never take it away through legislation. If they try, then that’s when we protest. We have to resist and we have to fight and, and stand up and, and be heard.”
To listen to the interview in its entirety Click Here