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Luciano “Lou” Martinez

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Luciano "Lou" Martinez

Luciano “Lou” Martinez (1948-2003) was born in Havana, Cuba, and moved to Miami when he was twelve. He came to Palm Beach County after earning a degree in social work from Florida International University.

In 1977 Martinez founded the Hispanic Human Resources Council Inc. in West Palm Beach. He ran unsuccessfully for the school board and twice for the county commission in the 1980s. Martinez united Cuban-American factions in 1996 by merging competing organizations into the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Palm Beach County, which grew to 500 members by 2007.

While Martinez encouraged Hispanics to maintain their traditional cultures, he helped them adapt to their new home by facilitating quality daycare, early education through Head Start, and home ownership through Su Casa. He helped children further through the Child Advocacy Board of Palm Beach County and the Governor’s Conference on Children and Youth. Martinez served many sectors of the community through his leadership of organizations such as the American Red Cross, the Forum Club, and the board of directors of JFK Hospital.

The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce established the Luciano Martinez Triunfo (triumph) Scholarship Fund in his memory, and Rep. Clay Shaw recorded a tribute to Martinez in the Congressional Record. “He really was the face and voice of the Hispanic community,” said former West Palm Beach Mayor Nancy Graham.

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