New leader puts aside fear to take action, leading to big change
Martha Martinez had never taken a public leadership role before. But her story helped MACG win $67 million for affordable housing last fall.
Martha is a survivor of domestic violence and human trafficking. She has two young children, ages 2 and 4.
She endured domestic violence for longer than she should have because she couldn’t find a place to live that she could afford.
Since then she has been on wait lists for different programs, and has moved her children around too many times to unsuitable, temporary and sometimes dangerous situations all because Portland needs more affordable housing options.
Her sister, a key leader in MACG’s Latino Organizing efforts, asked Martha if she would tell her story as part of MACG’s affordable housing campaign.
"Sharing a personal story in public was not easy,” Martha said. “I was scared and insecure, but MACG gave me the tools to make the decision to make myself heard. I never thought I could do something like that.”
But the story does not end there. Martha testified at a Portland housing committee meeting.
MACG’s campaign was making an impression with decision makers, bringing lots of people to these meetings, and bringing storytellers like Martha.
So Martha decided to come back. She told her story AGAIN at MACG’s affordable housing press conference. It was so compelling it was featured on OPB.
And all the people and storytellers MACG was bringing to these meetings, and the press we were generating, ultimately caused a huge win – 67 more million dollars for housing in Portland, meaning 670 more families like Martha’s will have a safe place to call home.
Martha is now a Latino core team member like her sister. A community leader has been born.
"I never thought that with my testimony the organization would achieve a change," she says.