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Celebrating the Impact of Eddie Martinez During Pride Month

LAC Pride Community Spotlight Martinez 16x9

As part of the celebration of June's Pride Month, the Chargers organization is highlighting the impact of game changers across the Southern California community. Eddie Martinez, the Executive Director of the Latino Equality Alliance, is up first.

There is a reason Eddie Martinez's friends and family refer to him as the Energizer Bunny.

The 55-year-old Martinez, a council member for the City of Huntington Park, also serves on various community boards in the Los Angeles metro area.

But perhaps his most important work shines through with the Latino Equality Alliance (LEA), a group that serves LGBTQ youth and families with Martinez leading the way as the Executive Director.

"He amplifies marginalized voices within the LGBTQ+ community and works tirelessly to promote inclusivity and acceptance," said Liliana Perez, the Chargers Senior Director of Cultural Affairs.

Perez, who has known Martinez for 20-plus years, added: "He provides support and resources for LGBTQ+ youth and adults alike and continues to push for full equality and representation. I am inspired by him as a compassionate leader, who exemplifies leading by example."

Martinez quipped that while he is "the captain of the ship" with the LEA, it takes a team effort to make a continued impact.

Martinez noted the LEA focuses on building a better future for an underrepresented community.

"Our mission to advocate for the safety, equity and wellness of the Latinx LGBTQ community," Martinez said. "A lot of our focus today is about building power within the youth around Los Angeles.

"We do that by providing a safe space for leadership development and educational success," Martinez added. "We want families to become allies and advocates for their youth."

Now in its 15th year of operation, the LEA goes into schools, homes and neighborhoods to advocate for systemic changes that will impact the Latinx LGBTQ community.

The LEA started as a coalition in 2009 as a response to the passing of Prop 8.

"A lot of us realized there was a need to put more resources into the Latin community to increase support for marriage quality, to increase support for LGBTQ issues," Martinez said.

But 15 years later, Martinez sees the work of his group starting to break through.

"I see a lot more visibility of LGBTQ issues within the Latinx community," Martinez said. "Cities that voted [in favor of] Prop 8 are now hosting Pride awareness events and are now raising the LGBTQ flag and are now voting for gay Latino-elected officials.

"We have differently seen a shift and a change in attitude of being more welcoming," Martinez added. "But there's always going to continue to be a need for more work."


That work, Martinez noted, is "intersectional" and aimed to help anyone and everyone.

"We don't just serve the LGBTQ community, we serve the whole Latino community," Martinez said. "We know the whatever we do to help support LGBTQ youth also has an impact on all youth.

"If we're fighting for schools to be safe from bullying, it's a ripple effect and it affects all students," Martinez added. "When everyone has that shared vision, it increased acceptance."

Martinez will certainly be a key figure in that work getting done.

Yet Martinez — a Chargers season ticket holder since 2020 — also makes time for fun by going to Bolts home games and following the powder blues each season.

"I was one of those Angelinos that didn't have a team," Martinez said. "I'd go to a couple games but when they moved to LA, I felt like I had a team that I could really get behind.

"When they came here, I said I was going to buy season tickets and I did," Martinez added.

Martinez noted that his favorite moment on game days is the buildup before the opening kickoff.

"It just gets me going," Martinez said. "This is our team and our home … it gives me a lot of sense of pride for the Chargers."

And with the Bolts continuing to show and increase their support for Pride Month, Martinez said it's just another season to support his favorite football team.

"It makes me feel very proud of the Chargers that they are being very inclusive and celebrate the diversity of Southern California," Martinez said. "It's a message to folks like me who are investing into the Chargers that I count. That I matter. And that my well-being is supported by the Chargers. I really appreciate that."

Perez said that Martinez's attitude toward the Bolts reflects everything else he tackles in his life.

"He is avid fan and community ambassador to build our L.A. fan base," Perez said.

You can find Martinez at SoFi Stadium in the fall cheering on the Chargers.

It's a small break from the constant rewarding and impactful work Martinez does for the LGBTQ community throughout the year.

"His dedication and passion have made an indelible mark in the lives of the LGBTQ+ their families and the community at large," Perez said. "And his work inspires others to continue fighting for a more inclusive and accepting world."

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