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A voice for the voiceless

Written By Warren Chapman

Haylieh Palma Martinez, a rising senior at East Mecklenburg High School in Charlotte, North Carolina, aims to work as an activist and to be a representation of a successful first-generation student.

She also wants through journalism to spread a reliable message of encouragement for the voiceless in society.

Martinez noted that the demographics at East Mecklenburg High School are approximately 60 percent Hispanic student population. Even though Hispanic students represent the majority of students at her school, “many Hispanic students don’t feel well represented within the student body,” she said. ”The events that are held at the school are predominantly white and do not express Hispanic culture.

“You can also see the lack of Hispanic culture with the honors, AP, or IB classes, with the low Hispanic representation,” said Martinez.

Martinez said she feels the need to lead by example and maintain good grades in her International Baccalaureate (IB) classes so that other Hispanic students are encouraged to do the same. Martinez wants to be a role model for younger Hispanic students.

Ever since Martinez was a little girl, she knew someday she would become a writer. “I am a first-gen student, daughter to immigrants, and that is what inspires me to help the voiceless,” she said.

Martinez always had a passion for writing and wants to make journalism her career. Martinez describes herself as “caring, extremely organized, goal-oriented, and good at time management,” attributes that fit with being a journalist and a leader.

One of the leaders Martinez respects is Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez because she represents Hispanic culture nationally and because of her professional status as a Congresswoman.

Martinez said she was proud of Congresswoman Cortez at the 2020 State of the Union Address where she was wearing “red lips and big gold hoop earrings,” showing her pride as a Hispanic woman.

As a representative of the Hispanic community, Martinez wants to “shed light on the injustices occurring within that community and ultimately around the world.”

Martinez emphasized that she wants to become a reliable source of news for her Hispanic community.

“I think so many people struggle with trusting the media and finding a reliable news source, and I want that to change,” said Martinez. “I want the public to restore their faith in journalism.”