Velazquez on Passing of Marta Garcia
Washington, DC - Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) released the following statement regarding the passing of Marta Garcia:
“I was profoundly saddened to hear of the passing of an old friend, a fellow Boricua, a New Yorker and an irrepressible voice for justice in our Latino community, Marta Garcia. While she had been unwell for some time, her loss still hurts us all. In the early 1990s, Marta joined my staff as my press aide and ultimately was promoted to serve as my District Director. During her time in my office, she proved an invaluable link to the community, and I was proud of the contributions she made in empowering those in New York who for too long had been deprived a voice.
“Marta’s passion for social justice started earlier than that. Even before I was elected to Congress, she and I were in the trenches together, advocating on women’s issues, reproductive rights, ending domestic violence and advocating for the people of Puerto Rico and so many of our neighbors who left the Island for New York in search of a better life. She was instrumental to establishing a critical repository of historical documents that are housed at the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College, a vital record of our community’s heritage for students studying our history and future.
“After her time working for Congress, she helped advance diversity and equity in media and the creative arts, helping more Latino voices be heard in all elements of our national culture. She was a founder and co-chair of the National Hispanic Media Coalition, a civil rights and media organization that helped expand Latino employment in the media sector; fought to oppose hate speech; and curtailed Latino stereotypes in the media. In the 1990s when one popular NBC program ran a hurtful segment mocking the people of Puerto Rico and the annual Puerto Rican Day parade, she was involved in organizing a citywide protest, eliciting an apology from the network.
“Marta never stopped fighting – from early days as a community activist to a Congressional staffer to a prominent leader in the broader Puerto Rican community – she was a persistent voice for what was right and for achieving dignity for those who have been treated unfairly. It is my hope that all those who knew and loved Marta take solace in the contributions she made to the people of Puerto Rico en la isla o aca en Nueva York. Her voice will be sorely missed, especially during these turbulent times. Nonetheless, we shall honor her legacy by forging ahead, fighting for the progress and values that animated her life.”