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Galilea Martinez is the current senior democracy program manager at Run for Something, an organization dedicated to sourcing and supporting young candidates running for down-ballot offices. Martinez recruits and trains young progressives into administrator roles across the country and is currently focused on helping candidates unseat election administrators who participated in the insurrectional activities of January 6, 2021.
The manager is also a mentor for the Course for Change organization that encourages and mentors students in inner cities to run for public office. Learn more about Martinez’s seemingly boundless energy for volunteer service and mentorship, her hope to launch an organization focused on supporting Latino politicos, and the extensive work she’s done for the people of her home state of Oklahoma.
What do you do today?
In my current role at Run for Something I am tasked with increasing the production of the Democracy Program by working to recruit and train young progressive into election administrator roles across the country. Specifically, unseating election administrators who participated in the January 6th insurrection in competitive counties across the country.
Additionally, I am tasked with creating a public campaign to inform the general public, potential candidates, and others about the election administrators role in protecting democracy.
In my own time I am working on creating an organization dedicated to the advancement of Latinos in the political space through a bipartisan approach.
What is your greatest career accomplishment to date?
My greatest career accomplishment is diversifying elected offices in Oklahoma through strategic recruitment and political campaigns. Laying down the groundwork to encourage others to run and become involved in campaigns and elections.
Additionally, during my time at Voto Latino I was always proud to work towards increasing Latino representation and political power across the country. From advocating for our community at every level of government to using a national platform to create partnerships to protect Latinos against COVID through the pandemic.
What is your greatest personal accomplishment to date?
One of my greatest personal accomplishments has been curating a playlist of songs I and other Latinos grew up on that plays at the National Archives in the same room as the Declaration of Independence. It may seem trivial but knowing the founding fathers never imagined a room full of professional educated and powerful Latinos enjoying an evening in celebration of each other has been a moment of pride.
Additionally, a personal accomplishment has been visiting the White House to celebrate Hispanic Heritage month. I never dared to imagine being invited to visit one of the most prominent historical buildings in the world. As I walked in through the doors, I was overcome with a strong emotion of carrying my family with me through the halls. I thought of my great grandpa who was once a bracero, the women in my family who were never allowed to dream of being anything more than mothers, and my parents who crossed the border scared and unsure of their future. I felt immense pride being in the same room as so many other Latinos I looked up to. And the most mind-blowing realization that I too belong in the same room.
Finally, one of my greatest accomplishments has been training and running half-marathons with kids from Oklahoma City. An organization based in OKC called Course for Change provides students from the inner city a chance to train and run in races such as 5k, 10ks, and half-marathons. I’ve participated as a mentor twice now and am filled with pride watching my mentee cross the finish line after months of practice and dedication. These students are between the ages of eleven to seventeen and it is always an honor to encourage and motivate them through the finish line.
How do you tackle problems and overcome challenges?
I always keep a positive outlook to any challenge. I repeat the mantra “Sera lo que sera” and “No pasa nada” when confronted with an obstacle. I may be drowning in anxiety but knowing no matter the situation I can only control my thoughts and actions is the ultimate confidence booster.
What do you do today to impact your community?
I am a mentor in the organization, Course for Change, to encourage and mentor students in the inner city to run. Most recently, I learned many of these students grew up in the same neighborhood I had and [it] has become a source of great pride to be able to spend my evening and weekends encouraging them to reach a goal.
Additionally, I try to stay involved in various organizations such as Period OKC to help provide period products for students in public schools. This is important to me since a period was a taboo topic in my family growing up. I volunteer with OKC Beautiful to keep my community looking and feeling beautiful. This organization does great work by planting trees across the city, providing educational opportunities on best practices to keep our city environmentally friendly, and is consistently in schools.
I often volunteer for political candidates with similar values who are running for local office. I have always loved getting to learn more from voters as to what issues matter most to them. It has become a family affair at times and is a teaching moment for my younger sister and nieces to be civically engaged.
Describe yourself in five words.
Energetic, ambitious, intentional, adaptable, open-minded
What are your future goals?
I hope to launch an organization to increase the amount of Latino politicos through a bipartisan approach. Latinos are not a monolith, and it is important we have a message in both parties. Additionally, I hope to create an organization to provide professional services to organizations and businesses in Latin America. Finally, I hope to be a voice in the Latino political space and beyond. I am not only Latina, but I am from the heartland of America, something that so many Latinos are in the US but are swept under the rug for simply living in a red state. I ultimately hope to always create a positive change while opening doors for others to follow and accomplish their dreams and potential.
What is your favorite form of self-care?
My favorite form of self-care is traveling to a new place. I love learning about new cultures and getting away from my laptop.
What do you like to do for fun when you’re not working?
When I am not working you can catch me reading a good book, running, trying a new workout class, indulging in local eateries, and spending time with my family.
What does making NextGen Collective’s 30 Under 30 list mean to you?
Making the NextGen Collective’s 30 under 30 list means I am making a positive impact in my community.
What is your personal theme song?
Is “Girls in the Hood” by Megan Thee Stallion appropriate? If not, “Mundo de Caramelo” by Danna Paola will ALWAYS turn a bad day upside down.
What is your Latino background?
I am Mexican American. I was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. My parents emigrated from a small town in Mexico when they were in their teens before settling down in OK.
Editor’s note: This Q&A has been edited for clarity.