2019 Cesar Chavez Awardee Dr. Ramon Martinez

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Dr. Ramon Martinez is Secretary of La Raza Historical Society of Santa Clara Valley, the first Latino historical society in our region. Their Chiechi History House is at San Jose History Park next to the American Heritage House and Vietnam Museum. The groups plan to work together to increase multicultural history knowledge for ALL our community. He was a working educator in our region for 33 years and his work has always been in collaboration with multicultural parent and communitybased groups and in partnerships with local, state and federal reform efforts.
“In Spanish, the work educacion (education) refers to the moral lessons the family and community teach children.

The purpose of the school is to provide instruccion (instruction) to the most rigorous level possible so that students become masters of their own future”. It takes a village to raise a child, is a saying that has its origins on the African continent. In the 1990’s Dr. Martinez worked in the East Side Union High School to provide multi service centers with teams of social workers, ethnic agencies, and juvenile and police support services to insure the whole community was providing support for students and their families. ” Our students must have rigorous math and science courses as early as possible to succeed in college and lifelong learning”.

Dr. Martinez worked to develop grants and resources to provide rigorous math and science reform training for teachers and to provide Algebra and Biology courses at the Freshman level. His earliest career influences have included many community and education heroines and heroes. In 1971, he began his first job in the San Jose Unified School District where he was fortunate to learn from African American educator Ms. Netty Goddard who was a pioneer in training teachers and in creating relevant ethnic studies for all students. In those years, many old downtown schools were demolished and Dr. Martinez worked with neighborhood groups to re-create their schools.

He met Mrs. Joyce Ellington, a longtime resident of the Grant Elementary School neighborhood which has been the home of African American families since the pioneer days of San Jose. She worked to insure a public library and public park in the new Grant School plan. The public library there was completed in 2008 and named the Joyce Ellington Branch Library in her honor. This model of combining schools, parks and libraries is now common in our area.

Dr. Martinez was born and raised in Bakersfield, California. He came to San Jose in 1969 to attend San Jose State University using his GI Bill benefits. He received his BA ( 1971) and Master’s Degrees (1976) at SJSU and his Doctor of Philosophy, Ph.D. from the University of Southern California (1989). He worked since 1971 in San Jose Unified and Berryessa Union School Districts and in the East Side Union High School District from which he retired in 2004.