Advancement Project California The Best Resistance is Our Collective Success

Pam Martinez

Founding Member and Co-Director, Padres & Jovenes Unidos

Pam Martinez is a founding member and Co-Director of Padres & Jovenes Unidos. Pam has been involved in organizing for racial justice and equality for working class people over the last forty years. Her passion has been reflected in organizing for democratic unions, supporting the United Farmworkrs, organizing against unjust wars and for the right to college preparatory education for all. Her organizing includes the historic struggle to win Plyer v. Doe, a case in which the Supreme Court of the US struck down a state statute denying the right of undocumented students to attend public schools in Tejas; defeating Ron Unz’s constitutional attack on bilingual education in Colorado; advancing educational reforms to ensure college preparation for all, organizing parents to open new excellent schools; developing a youth organizing component of Padres known nationally for its outstanding organizing, leadership and youth voice – Jovenes Unidos; creating new graduation requirements to ensure College Prep for All students in the Denver Public Schools, and establishing new policies to end racial disparities in discipline, which is being replicated nationally. Currently, Ms. Martinez helped to secure an i3 grant in which Padres Unidos will be organizing to advance literacy amongst English Language Learners. Ms. Martinez holds fast to the following quote by Frederick Douglass: “If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without demand. It never did and it never will.” -Frederick Douglass, 1849