Darlene will be a crucial LGBTQ voice in Maricopa County government
Darlene Martinez was born in Cortez Colorado to a family of 7 kids. Growing up she liked sports and building things. Growing up in a large family Darlene learned the values of hard work, dedication and integrity. At the age of 16 she was emancipated from her working class parents because of her “progressive lifestyle.” After attending Los Angeles Community College, she moved to San Francisco.
At Harvey Milk’s camera shop in the Castro District, Darlene met a sympathetic person who changed her views about what was possible in public life. Harvey listened to her story and encouraged her to join his campaign to become the first openly gay person elected to public office in California. This historic experience taught Darlene, first-hand, how to advocate for social justice and organize political campaigns for progressive causes.
Next, Darlene moved back to Los Angeles where she worked for Frito Lay as the first woman salesperson and truck driver–serving several of the toughest neighborhoods, such as Watts and East LA. Darlene also trained as a mechanic (earning the first certification for a woman by Chevrolet in CA as Ms. Goodwrench) She also worked with ABC television and helped organize AIDS volunteer events with Dick Clark. Darlene also participated in several campaigns in California before coming eventually to Arizona in late 1980’s. Darlene has worked as a jack-of-many-trade. She was a carpenter, mechanic, beekeeper. Currently, she works as a manager with Walgreens Drug Store.
In addition, Darlene continues to volunteer and work with many different community organizations:
- Served on the Board of Phoenix Women’s Chorus (choral group)
- Boys & Girls Clubs
- United Negro Foundation
- Tiger Mountain Foundation
- Arizona Common Ground
- Chicanos Por La Causa
Darlene is also pastor/minister in training and one of the original members of the Community Church of Hope in Phoenix. Last, Darlene educates young people about social justice and political activism through her Future Leaders Consulting company (which provides young people with volunteer opportunities and organized training for civic participation within the community).
With Future Leaders Consulting, Darlene has worked in the state of Arizona for many campaigns both local and statewide races along with fundraising efforts for many non-profit organizations as she continues to champion and serve her community.