Award-winning civil rights attorney and nonprofit leader, Areva Martin receives key to city of Lynwood

Lynwood, Calif. (12/10/15)— Edwin Hernandez, mayor of Lynwood, Calif., presented Areva Martin Esq., the president and co-founder of Special Needs Network (SNN), the key to the City during this year’s 94th annual Candy Cane Lane Christmas Parade. Prior to the parade’s precession, which attracts 13,000 attendees, the mayor gave Martin–a civil rights attorney and founding partner of the LA-based firm, Martin and Martin–and Latino actor, Fernando Allende, keys to the city of Lynwood. The key to a city is given to esteemed people to honor them for doing something courageous or something outstanding. It is considered one of the highest honors a civilian can receive.

Considered a champion and voice for individuals and communities who are underserved, especially African Americans and Latinos, Martin is an attorney and civil rights advocate who also served as the parade’s grand marshal along with Allende. Television audiences across the country recognize Martin for her weekly appearances on networks and shows such as CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, Dr. Drew, and Dr. Phil among others.

“It was an honor to have Areva Martin serve as Grand Marshal of our 94th annual Candy Cane Lane Christmas Parade,” said Lynwood Mayor Pro Tem Aide Castro. “She is amazing. This remarkable human being is not only a multi-award-winning Harvard-trained attorney, author, on-air legal expert, and nationally recognized autism, disability, and children’s rights advocate, but she also embodies our community’s spirit, has remained humble throughout her career and she is a voice for the voiceless. We were honored to give her the Key to the City, but in all honesty, Areva Martin deserves so much more for her work as an advocate and a philanthropist. It was truly an honor to know that Areva Martin was at the front of our parade. Personally, I was thrilled when I was told that she accepted to serve as Grand Marshal of our hometown community parade; to me, to our community, it meant that she values the meaning of community and that just made her all the more amazing.”

“I’m truly humbled and honored,” says Martin, who has led her South LA-based nonprofit for nearly a decade and spearheaded numerous initiatives that help improve the quality of life for individuals living with special needs and disabilities. “I share this moment and this key with all of our advocates and families. To receive this type of invitation inspires me to keep working hard and doing more for those in need and reminds me that our hard work does not go unnoticed.”

Under Martin’s leadership, SNN has worked with more than 40,000 children and families and is known as California’s premier resource organization for autism advocacy and serving under-served populations, particularly African American and Latino communities.

To learn more about SNN, call (323) 291-7100. SNN invites anyone with questions or concerns about autism and other developmental disabilities to contact their office for information on available resources, programs, and service providers.


Special Needs Network (SNN) is based in Los Angeles and is California’s leading grassroots autism advocacy organization. As a nonprofit organization, SNN was established to help families faced with autism and other developmental disabilities. The organization focuses on raising public awareness, impacting public policy, increasing education and access to resources for families, children, and adults.