Fernando Martinez was born in El Salvador--the fifth child in a family of 11 siblings, where he learned at an early age how to defend himself and fight for what he wanted among so many brothers and sisters.
He started his organizing career in El Salvador, organizing young adults in different churches during the Civil War in the late 1980s. Later he moved to the United States and couldn’t stay away from trouble, so he continued his fight for social justice in different community-based groups in New York City; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Birmingham, Alabama; and Paterson, New Jersey. Fernando was the first organizer for the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama (HICA), which fought back against the first anti-immigrant laws that preceded HB56 in 2005.
Most recently in New Jersey, he started the Paterson Chapter of the Statewide Education Organizing Committee (SEOC) in 2008. He led, engaged and organized parents to win the return of the Music and Art programs and two new schools projects for the city of Paterson.
Fernando studied Industrial Engineering at the Universidad Católica de Occidente in El Salvador.