Eliana Martinez

Photo added by JL

Eliana Martinez

  • Birth 15 Sep 1981 Bayamon Municipality, Puerto Rico, USA
  • Death 29 Nov 1989 Tampa, Hillsborough County, Florida, USA
  • Burial Tampa, Hillsborough County, Florida, USA
  • Memorial ID 19637872

Eliana Martinez was a little girl who was a victim of AIDS during the early 80's when AIDS was most feared. Her mother was Rosa E. Martinez who became an AIDS activist because of her daughters condition. In 1989 they won a court ruling which would have put Eliana in a Plex-glass enclosure, "cage" in school. Officials of the Hillsborough County School Board had wanted the child kept home, fearing she posed a health risk. A judge ruled Eliana could attend school if she stayed inside a special glass booth. School Board members and Mrs. Martinez were both dumbfounded. But Mrs. Martinez appealed the decision, after allowing everyone to think that she was actually thinking of going along with "the glass cage". Although she received a great deal of criticism, Mrs. Martinez had completed her objective. The whole world would know how "ridiculous and phobic" everyone who was fighting against her were. Instead, five days before Eliana was to go to school, she and her attorney Steve Hanlon filed a motion that kept Eliana out of school and the enclosure, exactly her intention. The room was built, the enclosure was seen all over the world. She had succeeded. "Her idea was brillant" exclaimed Mr. Hanlon. Rosa Martinez was no ordinary mother or client, she was on the case every step of the way. Mrs. Martinez made sure that she had met her objective. The news of the "Glass Cage," became international and the spotlight focused even brighter and stronger. In April of 1989 Eliana went to school for children with special needs, without the enclosure. Thanks to Rosa Martinez, all children and adults would never have to worry about this issue again. This is the legacy Rosa Martinez had fought for, her daughter would never be just another statistic in "Pediatric AIDS."


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  • Created by: JL
  • Added: 31 May 2007
  • Find A Grave Memorial 19637872
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Eliana Martinez (15 Sep 1981–29 Nov 1989), Find A Grave Memorial no. 19637872, citing Myrtle Hill Memorial Park, Tampa, Hillsborough County, Florida, USA ; Maintained by JL (contributor 46820762) .