Political Activist/Candidate for Everett City Council
Real Estate Developer
Campaign endorsed by Attorney General Maura Healey, SEIU888, MassAlliance, The COllege Democrats of MA, Mass Nurses Association, and Progressive Party of Massachusetts,
Graduated Cum Laude in Government from the Harvard Division of Continuing Ed.
Harvard David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies Student Ambassador 2014
By: April M. Crehan
Living in Everett for six years, Stephanie Martins said she felt like the immigrant community was living in isolation. The Globe reported that an estimated 41 percent of 2015 Everett residents were foreign-born, but elected positions didn’t reflect that diversity: all but 21 of more than 600 officials elected in the city since its founding in 1892 have been white men.
“We need that first person to go and open the door for others,” Martins said.
The 29-year-old licensed realtor took part in the Emerge program, which trains Democratic women to run for office.
“It gives you all the tools and the knowledge to run,” said Martins. “It built a sisterhood…. it’s a beautiful network.”
So far, the reception has been positive.
“The most exciting thing about running in Everett is that even the most traditional people are ready for a new face,” she said.
Martins’ road to Everett—and hopefully, her first political office—began with major bumps. At age 14, she moved to Framingham from Belo Horizonte, Brazil. When she was 17, she stayed in Massachusetts alone as her father moved to Florida. Then, just weeks before her high school graduation, her mother died.
Martins missed the funeral to finish school and then returned to Brazil to clear out her mother’s apartment.
“It was a really difficult experience--I was struggling to deal with that and I turned to alcohol for a little while,” she said. “Then I got pulled over and I got in really big trouble and I realized that was not the way I wanted to go.”
After that wakeup call, Martins turned to her faith for support. She became a Big Sister for seven years. She went to college, where she took part in a citizenship tutoring program to help Harvard employees apply for citizenship and led the entrepreneurship club.
“I always had this drive to grow, believe in myself despite the odds,” Martins said.
And now, as she runs for office, Martins hopes someday to head to law school—locally, of course.
“I am completely passionate about the culture in Massachusetts and Boston,” she said, although she confesses she misses Brazilian food and that her dad, now back in Brazil, often teases her about staying “up there in the cold.”
“In Boston we have every tool we need to succeed, especially as young Latinos,” she said, citing the area’s higher education institutions and political activism.
“The city is so full of young people, young voices,” Martins continued.
“Boston is just where the revolution starts.”