NewsJul 25, 2019

Lesley mourns death of Manny Martinez

Charismatic 2019 Art Therapy graduate remembered for service to LGBTQ+ youth of color and community involvement.

Young man walking across the stage with his diploma at Lesley Commencement in 2019.

On Wednesday, our community learned of the recent death of Emmanuel Antonio “Manny” Martinez, 25, of Malden, a 2019 graduate in Art Therapy. In a message to Lesley students, staff and faculty, President Janet Steinmayer called Manny’s death “devastating and unexpected.” 

“Please join me in expressing condolences to, and supporting, all those who knew and loved Manny,” President Steinmayer wrote. “Dean of Students Nathaniel Mays has been in contact with Manny’s loved ones, and we will offer whatever support we can during this difficult time.”

Manny's family announced that a wake would follow the July 27, 6 p.m. Mass at St. Benedict’s Church (21 Hathorn St., Somerville). According to the church, the wake will run from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. A funeral Mass at the church was announced for 10 a.m., July 29, followed by burial at Forest Dale Cemetery, 150 Forest St., Malden.

Manny was involved in many student activities here, speaking at the inaugural Undocumented/Students of Color graduation ceremony, as well as the Bridge the Gap Conference. He also attended the 2018 Unity Gala and was a member of the Multicultural Student Advisory Council.

“Manny, at his core, was a righteous, kind, and loving individual. His humble and genuine way of being was inspiring to all, because being around Manny meant having permission to be your full self,” said Jennifer Castro, Director of Multicultural Affairs & Student Inclusion. “I can still hear the roar of applause from the crowd when his name was called at the Selase Williams Unity Gala.”

Julianne Corey, assistant director of academic advising for the Lesley Center for the Adult Learner, said Manny had interned at Arts Connect International this past year and, before that, at Boston GLASS (Gay & Lesbian Adolescent Support Services), Justice Resource Institute support programming for LGBTQ+ youth of color. Manny in the past had also traveled to Sao Paolo, Brazil, to facilitate a mural project with LGBTQ youth, and had planned to move to Berlin, Germany, later this year to do similar community arts work in Europe.

A woman and a young man in his graduation cap and gown posing for a photo on Lesley graduation day 2019.
Julianne Corey with Manny Martinez at Lesley Commencement in May of 2019.

“Manny was outgoing, charismatic, and passionate about helping and healing through the arts,” Corey said, “and he was absolutely confident that he was the person to bring those tools to LGBTQ communities.” She added that Manny’s passion for his work “bordered on the fiery” and that his heart and drive “were always in the right place.”

Chief Diversity Officer Lilu Barbosa also remembered Manny as charismatic, and added, “The thing I remember best about him whenever his name came up was his smile. I worked with him in a few capacities and was fortunate to get to know him and learn a bit about his aspirations beyond Lesley.”

Barbosa further cited Manny’s joyful manner and “how he made others feel.”

“This news is very tragic and was difficult to hear,” Barbosa added. “My prayers and condolences go out to his family, friends and loved ones during this difficult time.”

Castro added, “Manny was and will continue to be loved, fiercely and forever.”

Counseling resources are available for students, faculty and staff who would like to speak with someone during this difficult time. The university encourages any student who would like support to connect with the Counseling Center. Faculty and staff can access services through the Employee Assistance Program (EAP).