"Tia" Marta Rosado

Speaker for the Migrants


Maritza Luz Rosado Valezquez was the daughter of migrant laborers, and as a teenaged girl in the ’60s, she marched with Cesar Chavez to protest the treatment of farm workers. As a loud young voice in the counterculture, she split with Chavez over his views on illegal immigration and moved to the California-Mexico borders to work for a time as a notoriously trustworthy coyote specializing in political refugees.

At the age of 32, she retired from this dangerous life, reconciled with Chavez (though not on the immigration issue) and became a journalist, her muckraking helping to expose ongoing corruption in fields and factories all along the Pacific coast. She retired, childless, in the late 1990s, supplementing her social security checks with a successful blog.

Then one day, at the start of the Second Depression, Marta closed the blog and took off into the hills, where she joined with one of the many indigent communities of migrants hungry for work… and also food. She may be the best thing to have happened to these groups, a well-spoken, savvy, steely-willed woman who can use the current upheaval to help the nationless workers finally seize their fair place in California. Though she never openly leads the groups she joins, they often call upon their “Tia” Marta to lead any negotiations.

By all means an elderly woman, Tia Marta is still striking, the beauty and passion of her youth hung graciously over her old bones. Her eyes twinkle with grandmotherly affection for any conversation partner, and her firm touch is reassuring. She never entirely lost her accent, and likes to pepper her speech with Spanish phrases that seem quaint, until the listener realizes she’s talking circles around them.

Growing up amidst the poor and disenfranchised, Marta knows that thieves, killers, rapists and worse often take advantage of folks society won’t miss. Whether she knows that predators of the more-than-human sort might also stalk her people is unclear, but there’s no telling what sort of horror she’s seen, bedded down among the dispossessed.

"Tia" Marta Rosado

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