Gathering Honors Roberta Martínez for New Book

Published : Sunday, April 19, 2009 | 8:46 PM

About 60 well-wishers gathered at the Pasadena Museum of History Sunday afternoon to honor local community activist Roberta Martínez, whose book “Latinos in Pasadena” is scheduled to released by Arcadia Publishing on April 27.

Martínez’s book looks beyond the storied mansions along South Orange Boulevard’s Millionaires Row and focuses on the legacies of Mexican Americans and other Latino men and women who often worked for Pasadena’s rich and famous.

“These are the stories of Pasadena and the San Gabriel Valley,” Martínez told the gathering on Sunday. “These are the stories that have made our lives what they are today. These are some of the stories that haven’t been known.”

In fact, the records handed down about the Latino community are only been sparsely preserved through the generations—even though these citizens often made remarkable community contributions and lived in close proximity to their employers.

Among the stories told is that of Antonio F. Coronel, a one-time Mexican Army officer who served as California state treasurer from 1866 to 1870 and whose image graced the 1904 Tournament of Roses program.

Martínez, who is a former School Board candidate, arts commissioner, and board member for several nonprofit groups, became active in Latino community after retiring from teaching at St. Mark’s Episcopal Day School. She was a founder of the annual Latino Heritage Parade and Jamaica.

“It has been a privilege to try and bring together stories to share,” Martínez said. “Do keep in mind that there are so many stories to be told that this book is not enough. We need to find other ways to share the story, the fullness, the breadth as much as possible.”

Martínez was joined at the event by her husband, James Grimes, and her son, Matthew.

The book will be available for sale at the Pasadena Museum of History bookstore.

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