cultural connoisseur, parade pro, researcher, vocalist, cable T.V. show host, grandmother
Fifteen years after giving birth to a local cultural phenomenon, Roberta Martínez is passing the torch of the Latino Heritage Parade and jamaica on to the City of Pasadena and a dedicated group of community members.
Over time the parade has provided residents with a tapestry of Latino culture infused with history both from Pasadena and its environs, to the music, literature, art and dance of the countries of Latin America, Africa, Armenia and the Philippines.
Each year over 1,000 children, youth, parents, teachers, etc. march in the parade and hundreds more attend the festivities at La Pintoresca Library and Park during the jamaica (community fair). Children and youth participation is prioritized by the planning team, so local schools and community based organizations look forward to the journey down Los Robles Ave. and across Washington Blvd. each year during Latino Heritage Month.
During the rest of the year Latino Heritage coordinates several other projects like the Si, Se Puede Art and Essay that takes place in Pasadena Unified School District. Originally established as the Cesar E. Chavez project, it was renamed to highlight Co-founder of the United Farm Workers – Dolores Huerta.
For a second year Latino Heritage, in collaboration with the Latino Arts network of California, has been awarded a grant. Last year the grant was used to support the visits of California Poet Laureate, Juan Felipe Herrera to the La Pintoresca Teen Education Center and Puente students at PCC. This was followed by an afternoon with the poet laureate that was open to the public.
This year they will be working with LAN and the Baseball Reliquary Society to present the OUT OF THE PARQUE: Latinos/Film/ Baseball. The Out of the Parque Series will feature three nights of screenings, poetry and art.
In the future, additional programming will be added, including lectures, concerts, workshops, all with the objective of cherishing culture, shared history, and preserving it for future generations.
Now that her responsibilities have been shifted, Roberta will have more time to return to her other passions: tending her yard, singing, spending time doing deep research, writing, traveling, hosting her television show and being a loving grandmother. Most of all, however, she will be able to see the love of her life, James – many, many more days out of the year.