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Jirandy Martinez, 29

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Jirandy Martinez has expended her considerable talents and dedication in addressing the issues affecting Westchester’s immigrant community. Martinez helped implement the Mamaroneck-based Community Resource Center’s crucial workforce-development initiative, the Building Our Future Program, and then went on to spearhead adult-literacy initiatives and English programs — outreach that strikes at the heart of the immigrant community’s efforts to adapt and thrive.

Martinez’s work in literacy education was galvanized in college, taking her on the path that led to her current role as executive director of the center, which works to orient and defend the immigrant community in society. “The work is personal to me,” she says, noting not only her history as a volunteer teacher at the center but also her upbringing as a first-generation American. Martinez routinely resolves questions from the immigrant community “regarding their rights, their children’s rights, and whether they are safe in Westchester County.”

She describes the current political atmosphere as an “upfront assault on the human rights of the people we serve,” leaving Martinez and the center to work tirelessly to empower these vulnerable communities. “Because folks are worried about their safety, due to their immigration status or because they live in mixed-status homes, our team has very diligently provided Know Your Rights training and specialty workshops,” she explains.

“Think globally, act locally” is a slogan bandied about quite often. For Martinez and the Community Resource Center, these are not just words but a call to action — and a pathway to change.

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