Jesse Martin “Sometimes you think, ‘Hey, I’m a guy; I don’t need help. I can do it on my own.’ But I found out that help from other people is what I needed.”

This story is for Cesar Martin, murdered in January 1996. It’s the story of Jesse Martin – Cesar’s brother. Two lives: One that ended viciously, and another that moves forward with determination, strength, and great love. “I took life for granted my first time around at SMC; I dropped classes, got into financial trouble. It was very depressing. But I always wanted to finish school. It was my—and my brother’s—ultimate goal. I’m kind of living two lives now: I always feel that my brother is my angel in the sky, looking down on me. He motivates me and pushes me to do it.”

Life became a very precious thing to Jesse when he saw how quickly it could be taken. “There was a birthday party where there was some friction with gang members,” he recalls. “Cesar left the party, the gang followed, and they just snuffed him.” But instead of the rancor and hatred you might expect, Jesse carries something altogether different in his heart for those who ended his brother’s life.

“There is no doubt that one day I will own my own entertainment company. And when I do, I’m going to help young kids at risk to better their lives,” says Jesse. “They live in a society where they don’t know anything else but murder. They’ve never seen the snow, they’ve never gone on a trip, or learned about all the incredible things they could do with their lives. I want to help them,” says the young man who will transfer to LMU next fall. “I will do this on behalf of my brother. And that will make me feel close to him.” Cesar, your brother is very proud of you.

Read more stories from present and past years in the SMC Student Spotlight Archive.