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'My legacy is really my activism': Community activist comes out of retirement after Kentucky official requests her assistance

As we continue with Hispanic Heritage Month, Marta Miranda Straub shares her story and being a 'voice' across Kentuckiana.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — One woman is no stranger to the community, as a longtime advocate and activist.

Marta Miranda Straub answered the call and continues to advocate for those who have no voice.

Straub is the commissioner for the Department of Community Based Services for the state of Kentucky. She explains what brought her out of retirement.

“The governor called and you know I said yes. Because I really respect[ed] his leadership during COVID, and his values and his congruency with helping. So of course, I said yes, but I hadn't told my husband about it," Straub said. "I was retired, we were on our way to Florida. I got that tattoo, I wrote the memoir, I opened a consulting company, I [was] ready to go.”

Marta headed to Frankfort with almost 50 years of experience in social work and advocacy. Her and her team oversee 1,000 staff members, a 'billion dollar budget' and they get to supervise social services in 120 counties. 

Straub describes her experience coming to America.  

“My mother, father and brother applied for political asylum from Cuba to the United States. We came in 1966. I was 10 years old at the time," Straub said. "And at that time, you had to have a sponsor family to be able to come to the United States and the government had to approve you leaving.”

She lived in Miami and later moved to the mountains of eastern Kentucky, saying it was one of the best decisions she'd ever made. 

Straub said it's important to educate people about her culture and why it's important. 

“We're either fiery hearts and sexy or we're criminals like Scarface, you know, there's no reality of the majority of where we are. There's also no understanding of the diversity within the Latino community," Straub said. "There's only 22 countries that we come from, you know, so we're not all from here or from there. Representation matters. And unpacking that diversity within a group is really important.”

Losing her twin at birth gave her the power not only speak up for herself but others, while leaving an impression along the way. 

“My legacy is really my activism. No matter what position I've been in, I've always been a voice,” Straub said. 

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►Contact WHAS11’s Sherlene Shanklin at sshanklin@whas11.com or follow her on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram. Photojournalist Nelson Reyes and Edited by Todd Prinz. 

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