Central PA's LGBT News Source
When a teacher tried to segregate his fourth-grade classroom “I organized a walk-out,” Adanjesus Marin tells the Central Voice.
“It was then that I saw the potential for organizing against the establishment and learned the power of collective multiracial direct action and organizing,” he says.
Marin is director of Make the Road PA, the state’s largest Latinx organization, which began in Reading, PA. The organization has added an Organizing Center in Allentown, PA and Organizing Committees in Northeast portion of the state.
He grew up in San Antonio, Texas, where he had to drop out of school and began working for a local union. “I used my youth to sneak on to school campuses unnoticed and have organizing conversations with the workers there. Since that time he’s worked relentlessly in many youth, student, tenant, immigrant, and worker social justice movements.
While living in New York, he co-founded the Student Liberation Action Movement, leading struggles against tuition increases, police brutality and murder, and in defense of CUNY’s affirmative action Open Admissions policy.
“Of my 26 years full-time in the movement, most have been spent organizing workers, ranging from janitors to college professors,” Marin says.
As the Organizing Director of the NY Independent Farmworkers Center, he won the first ever union contract in the state for farmworkers. Here in Pennsylvania, Marin has spent 10 years organizing healthcare workers with SEIU HCPA.
“The struggle for worker rights is central to me. We make the country run and deserve to have a country that works for us,” Marin says, summarizing his position.
One of my proudest accomplishments, he says, is having worked with SEIU HCPA in helping to lead a statewide coalition that defeated Governor Tom Corbett’s re-election.
Marin recently served as co-chair of Pennsylvania Pride at Work, the AFL-CIO LGBTQIA constituency group. Prior to that, he served as President of Equality PA, leading that organization during the court victory for marriage equality, the election of the first out Pennsylvania State Representative, and passage of dozens of local non-discrimination ordinances.
He is also a 2017 FAB Award recipient.
Busy is the word
When then-Commissioner Scott Martin announced his plans to abolish the Lancaster County Human Relations Commission, he was Chair of the body. He organized the Lancaster Committee to Defend Civil Rights, “which became one of the largest and broadest civil rights county-wide coalitions in Lancaster’s history, uniting faith, business, labor, women’s, LGBT, student, Latinx, and African American organizations”. Later, he was recognized by the Lancaster NAACP as Civil Rights Leader of the Year. “The hundreds of diverse Lancaster residents who stood up and fought for civil rights had a lasting impact on the county and on me,” he reflects.
In his current role, Marin builds “power for justice through organizing”. He cites the iconic Audre Lorde’s outlook. “There is no single-issue fight. We tackle strategic issues that affect our community. We’re scrappy, but fight every day to build the movement for justice.”
Three years ago
MRPA was founded almost three years ago. “Since then we have grown to be the largest Latino organization in the state. We fight around broad issues of social and economic justice like the Fight for $15, queer rights, women’s equity, for immigration reform, against police brutality and systemic racism.
Currently the organization has 17 staff coordinating multiple committees such as Comite de Lucha (Fight Committee), Juventud en Camino (Youth Committee), Comite de Padres (Parents Committee), Amor y Rabia (LGBTQ+ Committee), and other organizations meet in our offices to help build power with their bases as well.
Since President Trump’s inauguration, Marin says, “We have been a leading force in PA Resistance, standing up and fighting back against the right wing policies and goals of the administration.”
He notes that “members have bravely stood up and put their safety on the line while fighting for justice for everyone.” MRPA also help lead the #paResist coalition which in 2017 organized over 100 rallies and local actions including the two largest days of action in Pennsylvania history.
“Last year when stupid Republicans attacked the rights of trans youth by denying them necessary healthcare, our LGBTQ+ committee, Amor Y Rabia, helped organize the fightback and eventual victory against that attack,” Marin notes.
Marin is passionate.
“Now, more than ever is the time for all of us to realize that we need the energy that was given to us by the generation of Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera. The energy that they gave us from that generation is the only thing that will help us survive. Our community is under attack every single day and we cannot be only for marriage equality or only for gay rights without aligning with all the other movements. The only path for our liberation is for us to join together with every single group that is facing oppression from the very same enemy. We must stand with Black Lives Matter, with immigrant communities with women’s rights, with all of them. That is the true path of resistance and it is the only way that we will survive this administration’s attacks or the next administration’s attacks,” he says.
“We’re a scrappy organization with few resources other than the determination of our members and leaders to win a better world for everyone,” Marin concludes.