Son inherits the legacy of late labor leader Jaime Martinez

Ernest Martinez still believes in “being of service to others’

SAN ANTONIO – The home of the Cesar E. Chavez Legacy and Educational Foundation has been a landmark near the East Side for over a decade.

But since the passing of its founder, Jaime Martinez in 2017, the building in the 1500 block of E. Commerce is now home to IUE-CWA Local 86780.

“My next goal is finding a new home,” said his son, Ernest Martinez, now the CECLEF chairman.

He said it would be where memorabilia could be on display of his father’s union labor activism and his involvement in the United Farmworkers.

Martinez said he hopes to build momentum for a capital fundraising campaign to perhaps move his father’s foundation to the West Side, where he was born and his Cesar Chavez March started off every year.

“No doubt a major task, but not impossible,” he said.

“Si se puede,” Martinez said, echoing the words of his father’s longtime friend, UFW leader Cesar Chavez.

Martinez said his father, who was an outspoken union leader, was mentored by Chavez.

After hearing Chavez for the first time, Martinez said his father came back saying, “This man is changing the world.”

To honor Chavez after his death in 1993, Martinez said his father created the Cesar E. Chavez Legacy and Educational Foundation.

His priority now is the educational aspect of his father’s foundation, according to Martinez.

“That’s the future, the educational part of it,” Martinez said. “The legacy? Hey, that thumbprint is there.”

Along with the CECLEF scholarships, Martinez said he plans to further its outreach in schools.

“Some don’t even know who Dolores Huerta is or Cesar Chavez, believe it or not,” Martinez said.

Martinez, a financial planner by profession, said he also remains committed to the words his father lived by, “It’s always about people, being of service to others.”

He said CECLEF is known for its work among communities that are in need.

Martinez said his father’s legacy “will always flourish and continue.”

About the Authors:

Jessie Degollado has been with KSAT since 1984. She is a general assignments reporter who covers a wide variety of stories. Raised in Laredo and as an anchor/reporter at KRGV in the Rio Grande Valley, Jessie is especially familiar with border and immigration issues. In 2007, Jessie also was inducted into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame.

Luis Cienfuegos is a photographer at KSAT 12.