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Samantha Martinez smiles to camera.

Samantha Alexandra Martinez

UChicago Obama Scholars 2021-2022


Co-Founder, Gage Park Latinx Council





Samantha Martinez is a first-generation, immigrant queer artist and co-founder of the Gage Park Latinx Council (GPLXC), the first community-led Cultural Center in Gage Park. Samantha develops and facilitates youth programs at GPLXC to create culturally affirming spaces where young people of color can imagine and lead change in their communities. In 2020, Samantha also co-founded GPLXC’s Mercadito, a free community market stocked with food and hygiene items that is visited by more than 90 residents every week. Samantha’s community-based work is led through an intersectional and anti-oppressive framework that considers the multiple intersections of oppression that impact the lives and experiences of Latinx, undocumented, and low-income people in Chicago.

Samantha is pursuing her master’s degree from the Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice at the University of Chicago.