Episode 44 | Hostos50 Oral Collective | Tere Martínez, Playwright and Professor

Episode 44 Tere Martinez.JPG

If the legendary Puerto Rican educator, writer, and patriot Don Eugenio María de Hostos were alive today, I wonder what he’d think of the community college in the South Bronx named after him, that no one thought would make it. Alas.

Just this past Thursday, Eugenio María de Hostos Community College launched its 50th Anniversary Season.

I can't help but believe that Don Eugenio would be proud of what one of the most marginalized and disenfranchised communities to have ever been in United States history did for themselves.

The story of Hostos is deserving of a lot more attention than it has ever received. It truly is an amazing story. A story about the Bronx, New York City and a reveal of margnalized communities. My relationship with the College is long and now very profound. Life changing really. And I’ll share that story as the year unfolds.

But for part one, for the past 8 months, I’ve been coordinating, conducting, and editing an oral history project for and about Hostos Community College - Hostos50. To date, I have interviewed well over 100 people and counting for a grand goal of 200. From former College Presidents Cándido de León and Flora Mancuso Edwards, to Congressman José E. Serrano, and former Bronx Borough Presidents Fernando Ferrer and Adolfo Carrión, to young students with a promising future like Rokia Diabi.

Once a month, for the next year, I’ll share some of these testimonies if you will. The testimonies are moving, sincere, revealing, courageous, some devastating, others empowering, and the story of triumph over adversity. And more relevant than ever.

Which brings me to Tere Martínez. I wanted to start with her because I love her because she has been nothing but noble to me and because her purpose is beautiful and her testimony open and to the point.

Like the song says, I must have done something good, for the grace of God gave me the opportunity to work on this project when we have, arguably, the most despicable crew of racists, sexists, homophobic, fear mongering, science deniers, xenophobes and troglodytes leading the world order.

The point indeed is that the voices emerging from this Hostos Community College oral collective as I’ve heard it first hand, confirm to me yet again that the leaders have it all wrong.

Ignorance judges the so-called “moochers” for being good for nothings. The truth is you find moochers and good for nothings at every level and anywhere you go, is not an exclusive club of poor people of communities of color.

The bottom line is that the power of education is real and access is imperative.