Back to My Roots

From ELA to Vegas and back

By Gerard D. Martinez
Published on LatinoLA: February 14, 2003

Back to My Roots

I left East LA in 94 to move to Las Vegas to find oppportunity for my familia. We have struggled to obtain and maintain employment, purchased a home and are raising three boys. The American Dream is nice, but the faces and hearts of Las Vegas are cold and treat people of color as second class.

I've been a case manager for at-risk teens for 22 years, the last eight in Las Vegas. The values and ethics of the justice system is ruining our youth. I became a dinosaur "fighting for justice" and the children became profit margins and passed through the system. In my fight I neglected my own children and family.

I missed the faces of brothers and sisters. I missed my parents and my home. I regret now the eight years away, as I miss my dad who passed away last March. I miss my old friends who now sport grey tops and beards and reminisce
of our good times. I want my children to have the memories I took with me to Vegas and feel and smell their roots from their souls.

I dreamed of being an artist and musician back in the day and did achieve some success. I created a superhero named "Hispanic Man" before the word Hispanic would be acceptable and wrote a song "There Is A Need In Our Own Country" during the Statue of Liberty celebration in the 80s.

I went back to school to learn computer graphics. I purchased Gon Bop & Timba congas and a piano to study music again as I did from the time I was seven years old up until my late teens.

Now, at 45, I am planning my return with my wife and three sons to my birthplace
and the place I call home.

I am in need of opportunity for employment as an entry level graphic artist. I am also in need of a home to rent for my family. My brother is warming up his guitar and drums for our reunion in music, 20 years later.

If anyone out there in LatinoLA land can offer opportunity please email me at

About Gerard D. Martinez:
Gerard D. Martinez: St. Alphonsus School, ELA; Cantwell High School, Montebello; ELA college, Monterey Park; DTI Design Tech, Orange; & New Horizons Techn., Las Vegas

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