Throughout Black History Month, Special Olympics Florida athletes are telling us about Black leaders who inspire them. Today, we hear from Charleslyn Rose Martin of Monroe County.
“Key West District VI City Commissioner Clayton Lopez is my uncle. He is the oldest of four children born to my grandparents, Charles and Rose Lopez. He has always stood up for others and, at just 13, organized protests against a segregated skating rink here in Key West. In 1972, he was appointed by the governor to help end racial unrest in the city. During almost 20 years as a city commissioner, he continued fighting for equal rights for all people.
“He is also one of my biggest cheerleaders. When I was on my high school Homecoming Court, he served as my escort because my dad was unable to attend. When I was young, he helped me deal with bullying. As a commissioner, he helped Special Olympics in its campaign to end the use of the ‘R’ word, and when our bowling team went to the State Competition, he made sure we were recognized with a City of Key West Challenge Coin. My Uncle Clayton is my inspiration and my hero.”