Spotlight On Dreamer Alumni: Juan D. Martinez

This month, we chat with Juan D. Martinez, Esq., part of the Original Dreamer class. Juan also recently hosted a site visit of the U.S. State Department for those attending this year's National Dreamer Conference in Washington, DC. Thank you for sharing your stories and being an inspiration to our Dreamers, Juan!

  Original Dreamer Juan D. Martinez, Esq.

Original Dreamer Juan D. Martinez, Esq.

Name:  Juan D. Martínez, Esq.

Dreamer Cohort:  Eugene M. Lang

Year joined program/Which grade were you in?: 1981/6th grade

What High School did you attend, and what year did you graduate? The Bronx High School of Science, Class of 1987.

Did you go to college/secondary school? If so, where and what did you study?Swarthmore College, B.A. in Philosophy, Class of 1991.

What are you doing now? I am a Foreign Service Officer/Diplomat in the U.S. Department of State.

How would you explain the “I Have A Dream” program to someone who had never heard of it? The IHAD Program provides academic support and resources that “fill in the gap” present for many students in disadvantage communities that help to open doors to educational opportunities that might not otherwise be available.

How did being a Dreamer affect you? Being a Dreamer has truly been one of the most positive experiences in my life. I have been incredibly fortunate to have had the educational opportunities afford to me, but, also to have been able to form life-long bonds with my sponsor Gene Lang, Project Coordinator Johnny Rivera, and several of my fellow “Original Dreamers,” even more than thirty years later.

What were some of your favorite memories about being a Dreamer? Getting together with fellow classmates/Dreamers at our Community-Based Organization, the Youth Action Program (now YouthBuild USA:, after school and during the summer.

Would you be where you are today without “I Have A Dream” – New York? Why or why not? While it’s likely that I would still be where I am today without the “I Have A Dream” program, it would have been a decidedly more difficult path.

What does your family think of “I Have A Dream” – New York? My family have been supporters and fans of the “I Have A Dream” program, as a whole, since its inception.