Peace & Prosperity Beyond Compare: CEFERINO “ALVIN” MARTIREZ

yli is My Story


Calafia Fellow ~ Long Beach, California

Alvin was born on October 4, 2000.

Growing up with his strict impoverished family in Southeast Asia, he didn’t really have the freedom to make his own choices. He grew up in a very restrictive, religious and stratified society, with his family coming from military and policing backgrounds, having to endure a decade worth of poverty and class struggle.

When Alvin was given the ability to move to the U.S., he thought it was going to be different – the promise of equality and liberty he was told of by his family would give him the ability to choose his own path.

However, it wasn’t true. While the American Dream entailed certain unalienable rights, his father had another way of raising Alvin. His father raised him to not trust anyone and enforced restriction into his daily life, limiting Alvin’s sense of autonomy.

High school became a very slow process with his first three years being a constant struggle amongst his peers. His last school year proved to be a success. For the first time he had relative control over his life, making loyal friends and networking across the Greater Long Beach area to promote worker cooperatives and social progressivism before graduating in the class of ‘19.  Now entering college, Alvin a new set of problems to deal with alongside a whole new set of work. Alvin wants to study and to major in history to become a history teacher and be a part of a great historical movement of the 21st century.

Alvin’s Social Justice Tagline:

As a people, Alvin believes in striving for:

  • Better living standards and freedoms (Prosperity)
  • An end to violence, war and conflict (Peace)
  • A future where everyone is equal and treated fairly

Life is a constant struggle. There are always some conflicts or issues and we may never stop the conflict, Alvin believes. But the struggle is important if we want to strive for a greater society where all people are equal.

The path to progress may seem difficult and arduous, Alvin says, but the more paved the path is, the more smoother it is to travel for all. Alvin claims that “In order for people to progress, people must be ready, never to take a single step back, and every step forward.”

Calafia is yli’s statewide youth policy journal, which amplifies the narratives of young people on topics and issue areas important to them and their communities. Each year, a Calafia Fellow is selected from each of yli’s seven office to identify the issue’s theme and write the stories. Along the way, they are mentored by experienced reporters, travel to statewide and national media conferences, and learn the steps to producing a printed publication. 

Stay tuned for this year’s pub!