By Bri Fernandez
Everyone googles their name sometimes. Whether it be to see what social media pops up, or to see what it means in different languages, there is a certain excitement to figuring out what your name is tied to. Googling Javier Martinez and finding news articles about his tragic passing is truly heartbreaking in every way possible. I myself wasn’t extremely close to Javi but the pain I feel is terrible, and I can only imagine how his close friends and family are feeling.
As December 28th nears, this holiday season, which most find magical and wondrous, brings tears to my eyes as I remember a fallen friend and a great young man who was unfairly taken from all of us, who will never be able to spend another holiday with his loved ones. The death of one of Common Ground’s past graduating seniors was the most unexpected event that came my way, not because a promising, friendly, loving 18-year-old young man was shot and killed in New Haven, but because I never expected it to be Javi.
He was killed almost two years ago, just three days after Christmas in 2013. I spoke to Diego, a close friend of Javi, and he had a lot to say about his lost friend. When Diego heard about Javi’s passing he says, “It hurt. I cried so much I couldn’t take it. I wanted to know why will someone cold-heartedly kill a good person.” Similar responses came from everyone who knew Javi.
Everybody always spoke of Javi’s potential, and in my opinion they were right to. He was really an extraordinary person. He made friends with everyone and anyone. There was something about Javi that made everyone love him and his personality almost immediately. Diego and Javi were “like brothers,” according to Diego. “I met him through my ex-girlfriend. We talked and I took him to my job and gave him free ice cream. He loved ice cream.”
Diego spoke fondly on Javier’s friendliness. “He was a great guy, someone who is there for you when you need someone to talk to. When you talked to him he will be your friend or best friend.” said Diego. It’s easy to say that relationships were important to Javi—I do not think that he left any bad blood in this world. Mr. Dome was Javi’s guidance teacher and they had a very strong relationship. “It wasn’t until late in his junior year into his senior year that we really started to bond. And then I lost him.” said Dome. Although Dome’s and all of our times with Javi were cut short, we all have beautiful memories with him to keep his memory living.
Javi had passion for everything he did. Most people would speak about his outstanding love for nature and his inclusion in programs such as LEAP, the Urban Resources Initiative, and the Regional Water Authority. His immeasurable passion spread to every aspect of his life. Besides his love for the environment, his friends and family knew about his love for bikes, music, relationships, and sneakers.
I asked Dome to share his best memory with Javi. “The best memory I probably have with Javi is the day he got accepted to the LEAP internship.” said Dome, “Everybody else got accepted places with other CG students except Javi. He was nervous, and I kept telling him ‘You’re gonna do great. You’re going to the best place.’” Dome struggled to hold back tears, “When he got back he started sharing with me how much fun he had and he thanked me for pushing him to do it. Because at first he was skeptical, he kept saying he couldn’t do it.” Dome added with tears running down his face.
New Haven’s gun violence became real to me the day Javi passed. It hit everyone who loved him very hard; A painful memory for the holiday season. However, while in mourning we can all remember to honor and celebrate Javier Martinez’s life during this time and take his tragic death as a reminder for all of us to be safe and careful while out and about. Let’s remember to enjoy the holiday season.
This piece originally appeared in the December 3, 2015 issue of Hawk News.