Literacy Leader Promotes Lifelong Learning in Talk at College
Please click here to view a video of Martinez's appearance at the College.
"Learning is in. Reading is in. That's what life is about -- being prepared," he said during a talk at the Chalon Campus Little Theater. "If you are prepared, the doors open automatically for you."
He also told students to persevere in their goals. "It's about not giving up, under all conditions," he said.
Martinez started his career as a barber and kept some of his favorite books near his chair for clients to read. When demand for his collection swelled, he turned his Santa Ana salon into a bookstore in 1993. Martinez comes to the College in a program sponsored by the Mind & Spirit Committee, which organizes events each year designed to widen the perspective of voices at the College and to facilitate learning about various cultures.
For his community action, Martinez was awarded a $500,000 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship and Genius Grant. The award recognized his leadership in promoting Latino literacy and in serving as an American role model.
With actor Edward James Olmos, Martinez co-founded the annual Latino Book and Family Film Festival, which returns to the Los Angeles area in October.