Spotlight on…Kay Martinez, Director of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

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1. What’s your role at Mazzoni Center and how long have you been in it?

I am the first Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and this is my 4th week on the job.

2.  Out of all the jobs out there why one at Mazzoni Center?

When I was searching for a job the keywords I had alerts for were “diversity, inclusion, LGBTQ.” I was reviewing job descriptions daily via those keywords for a few months and the Mazzoni Center job posting really stood out. This position’s call for a dynamic change agent with an intersectional approach for an LGBT centered organization was something I was not seeing nationally—it’s cutting edge stuff. I was intrigued and excited to apply for this leadership position within an organization dedicated to LGBTQ Health & Well-being at this political moment.

3.  The Director of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion role is a new one for Mazzoni Center. Can you tell us a little about how you see that role in the context of the organization’s mission?

My role may be new but the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion are what created Mazzoni Center. Mazzoni was founded by people who led a response to the HIV and AIDS epidemic in the LGBT community in the 70s. People living with and dying from HIV and AIDS in that era were marginalized and discriminated against so Mazzoni Center emerged to create a safe haven. Mazzoni Center is the oldest AIDS service organization in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the fourth-oldest in the nation. We wouldn’t be here without people recognizing and fighting the systemic injustice and oppression LGBT people faced at the time.  For those of us working here now, we are keepers of that flame and our guiding questions should be rooted in our origins—what are the current health crises impacting the LGBT community in 2018? Who is marginalized and discriminated against in our community and what are we doing to center them here? Not only should we be thinking about our current context in 2018, but to remain innovative, we must ask ourselves about the future and demographic trends. I see my role as asking these questions and working with the remarkable people in this agency to think about serving those no one else is thinking about and creating a space for the margins of the margins in regards to our clientele and our personnel.

4.  I know you just moved to Philadelphia. What do you think of our fair city so far? What has surprised you about Philly?, or share a story about your recent experience

I really like Philly so far! I’ve enjoyed going to QTPOC centered events almost every week since I’ve been here. It seems like there are a lot of vegan/vegetarian places to check out which I’m excited for and overall, I think people here are trying new things. I feel a more vibrant art scene than new England….they’re not really known for that. So, I’m excited to be here.