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Gari-News » Garifuna Resident in the Bronx and his dreams of...
Aug 23, 2003



BRONX, NY_8/5/2003

In 1997 the idea went through his head because his community needed, yet it has been a long fight and a challenge for Roman Martinez, the Garifuna activist from Livingston, Guatemala to make his dreams of having a health center to care for the people back in his home town of Livingston.

Livingston is the town in the eastern section of Guatemala populated by Garinagu who were exiled from the island of St. Vincents in 1797. In 1998, then Mayor Rudolph Guilliani proclaimed August 17 as Garifuna Day in New York. This year, Los Angeles City Council declared April 12 a holiday and in Guatemala, November 26 is a holiday commemorating the landing of the Garifuna in Livingston.

"The need for a healthcare is important because if someone has a heart attack in Livingston, by the time you get to Puerto Barrios that person may have expired", explained Mr. Martinez while meeting with locals at Labuga Puerto Barrios Shipping, a business owned by Labuganas in the Bronx.

"We need it because times have changed and we derserve to have a health center to care for the elders and the children. Most importantly for the women who are about to give birth."

Roman Martinez is a 61 year old activist who who helped his community in providing youngsters in Livingston by providing notebooks, pencils and pens. He is a well known cook who most of the times gets orders to make cakes for weddings, birthdays and any occassions. But his current task, he says, will plant the foundation of the future of Livingston.

"Livingston now is good", he continued. "It can get better if we all participate and invest in what can be important not just for us, but for our children."

People around this South Bronx region are excited about the plans and have responded to the movements raffle of .60 cents per brick.

On July 15, according to reciept provided by Mr. Martinez, he collected a total of $414.66. The money went to a foundation that is backed by 1199, the Health Care Union.

On Sunday August 10th, Mr. Martinez will conduct a meeting where everyone are invited to implement more about this movement.

"Everyone is invited", he says. "All the artists, organizations and people."

The meeting will be held at the offices of Labuga Puerto Barrios Shipping in the Bronx.

"We feel very good in providing space for a cause that will improve our town", said a company representative via telephone.

The office is located at 952 Prospect Avenue (in front of the Old Cubano Club) in the Bronx. The meeting will start at 4 pm.

"We have come far in this movement", continued Mr. Martinez as he was eating a plate of fulitas (fried mashed bananas) with fried fish and a coca cola. "And our people deserve what they deserve: a health facility."

To RSVP, you can contact Labuga Puerto Barrios Shipping toll free at: 1-866-292-1394.

Lafanseja Jerry Castro tu Lidani News Media



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