Rito Martinez
As Vice President of Programs for the Surge Institute, Rito Martinez is responsible for setting the vision and direction for the content of the Surge Fellowship — the Institute’s signature program — as well as the design of the Surge core curriculum. Rito is a proud alumnus of Chicago Public Schools. Growing up in Little Village, a working-class neighborhood on the southwest side of Chicago, he overcame significant challenges stemming from systemic and institutional divestment to become an award-winning educator. As a teacher, Rito constantly pushed his students to explore self, identity and culture and to find their purpose. He also helped students unpack the impact of low expectations and demanded that they form an intellectual identity. His work on creating culturally relevant curricula, as well as the relationships he formed with his students, led to his receiving the Golden Apple Award for Teaching Excellence. After 12 years as a classroom teacher, Rito returned to his community to support a grass-roots movement to open a new high school in Little Village. In 2004, he was Founding Principal of Social Justice High School, an innovative small school that was birthed from a community grass-roots struggle that culminated in a 19-day hunger strike. Rito worked incessantly to create a powerful high school culture that would address the political and racial divisions of Northand South Lawndale. Social Justice High School became a vibrant school where black and Latino students actively engaged in civic and social justice projects to address systemic issues of inequity in their community. By the time he left in 2009, he had forged significant and meaningful partnerships with community organizations, universities and foundations in order to implement successful school-wide programs. Rito is deeply committed to impacting African-American and Latino communities by supporting and developing the leaders who serve them. Rito is currently the Founder and President of Love and Liberation: A healing justice and equity justice executive coaching and consulting firm. Rito currently supports the following efforts: leading racial justice and racial healing transformative healing circle practices with Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Chicago; transformative coaching in partnership with Surge Institute, Moonshot Education Ventures, Nexus Equity Fellowship, and Community Equity Partners and Co-design and co-lead the Great Expectations Equity Fellowship with the Office of Equity Chicago Public Schools.
Healing through the power of our ancestors, somatic practice and our purpose
In-Person Session
This session will support Black and Indigenous/Latinx Bodies to tap into their own resource and the power, love, hope and resiliency of their ancestors. We will invite participants to integrate their minds and bodies as a powerful tool of radical self care. The invitation will focus on the importance of connecting to one's body and developing an intentional practice of wellness and healing.

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