Tekesha Martinez, the first Black Mayor of Hagerstown, MD, is a living, homegrown American success story against all odds. Growing up as a foster child, she persevered through teen pregnancy and eventually had four daughters and a son who have, so far, given her seven grandbabies as well.
Seeking outlets after a traumatic episode in her life, Tekesha rediscovered her childhood love of poetry in her thirties. Immediately, she began performing and hosting at spoken word events, continuing to do so as an elected official. Tekesha has also worked as a trained community mediator, spending over a decade facilitating conversation through conflict and serving her hometown in a way that tangibly brings neighbors together instead of driving them apart.