Maralis Martinez was born in Puerto Rico but spent most of her youth in New Britain, CT, living with a single mom in public housing. Maralis graduated high school but could not afford college. She worked various jobs, met her husband, went to community college, and obtained a four-year degree. Today, Maralis is a medical technologist at the local hospital where she works second shift three days a week and every other weekend to maximize the amount of time she and husband David (who has a traditional work schedule) can spend with their three-year old Laura. “We are the people who leave our families on Mother’s Day and holidays to take care of other’s family. But I love my work. I never thought I would be where I am.”
Maralis sees parallels between her life and her mother’s, between Laura and her own childhood. “My mother had her first child at age fifteen. Underage marriages were part of Puerto Rican culture. My sister had her first child at eighteen. I had my first child at thirty-one. There is a huge difference in what you can do for your child. I took maternity leave. We have a house without cockroaches or lead paint, a house I could afford to keep if anything happens to David.
“I believe in educating women and girls. If my mother had been educated, she would have had more opportunities; I would have had more opportunities.”
How will we live tomorrow?