Sunday, February 27, 2005

Adios, Amigo

Chico Martinez died suddenly on February 18. He was honored with a gathering of hundreds of friends and family on February 25 in his home town of Trinidad, Colorado. Old pals from Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, showed up to pay their respects for this activist, cultural warrior, role model, leader. In the audience were musicians, politicos, bureaucrats, teachers, religious leaders, farmers and ranchers, students, viejitas and babies - gente. I watched the crowd as Chico's photos flashed across the front of the Christian Fellowship Church that served as the setting for his services. Their expressions of love and respect were genuine, so real you could feel the emotion swarm around all of us in that church. This guy literally touched the souls of all those he met.

The Pueblo Chieftain ran an obituary that you can access at this link and where you can get a small idea about the shock of his death and the effect the man had on his community.

I met Chico at Colorado State University back when some of us (the Chicano students) had been trying to organize our own brand of the revolution. He had transferred to the Fort Collins university from Southern Colorado State College in Pueblo and he had an immediate impact on all of us. The guy was filled with energy, music, commitment - life. He took the student movement from the sterile halls of the academy into the vibrant northern Colorado Chicano community where he established himself, published a newsletter, took on the local causes, started the first of his three families. He became Chico "El Perico" Martinez. I always thought that Chico was what the Movement was supposed to be. He was a hard act to follow, a tough image to live up to.

He never showed, to me at least, the burn-out or weariness that so many of us know. They say he had a massive heart attack. He had filled that heart with love and struggle - there's only so much any heart can take.

Que descanse en paz.

Manuel

5 comments:

La Bloga said...

QEPD, brother, though I didn't know you.

What do you think, as your peers begin to die? I came of age during the 60s, the Vietnam War era. Some of my friends, several of the people I trained with in the Army, died in Vietnam. Too soon, boys, too soon.

As we become the elders of our familias, the youngsters don't know us, nor we their names. I'm glad your friend had a large turn out.

mvs

Jim Naka said...

Hi, I was just blog surfing and found you! If you are interested, go see my toy chest related site. It pretty much covers toy chest stuff. I guess you may find something of interest.

Luz Falcon-Martinez said...

Manuel,
I am Chico's daughter Luz. I just came across your blog. Thank you so much for saying so many wonderful things about my daddy. He's been gone 9 months today. I still feel terror when the phone rings and I still wake up with a little bit of hope that it's all an awful dream. I never heard that story of "El Perico"; would you mind sharing it with me? I'm not able to listen to his voice on his CD's or watch any videos yet, but I love to talk about him and I love to hear stories.

Muchas Gracias,
Luz Falcon-Martinez

Luz Falcon-Martinez said...

Manuel,

My email is luzchimalma@yahoo.com

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