Originally published at DiscoverLA. Republished by permission.
A report by the Pew Hispanic Center (November 2010) titled "National Latino Leader: The Job is Open" revealed some not so surprising results. When Latinos were asked "who is the most important Latino leader in the country today," nearly 64% of them responded "don't know." Another 10% said "no one." The top place finisher from Hispanic respondents was Sonia Sotomayor at 7%.
Most of my growing up was in Pico Rivera during the 1960's and 70's. Hispanics were not well thought of but we certainly boasted about our Hispanic "heroes". Labor Leader Cesar Chavez was a household name and considered to be the most famous Hispanic Leader of all time. The vision and stories of the revolutionist Ernest "Che" Guevara made his face probably the most recognizable Hispanic in the world. Che was a medical doctor, prolific writer, military strategist, and fighter against poverty and oppression.
And locally, Congressman Edward Roybal was the spokesperson for minority groups in Los Angeles and recognized leader of Eastside minority groups. And who can forget the March 1968 student walkout in East Los Angeles to protest academic prejudice and dire school conditions which sparked new activism by Sal Castro and others.
Hispanics are the nation's largest minority group constituting more than 15% of the U.S. population. Research by Lopez, Moran, and Taylor (2010) found that 61% of Hispanics felt that discrimination was a major problem that prevents members of the Hispanic Community from succeeding in America. An easily identifiable leader in the national forum would help rally Hispanics towards an "ethnic unification."
Effective Hispanic leadership helps the average Hispanic understand their participation and belongingness ais part of the American experience which rightfully belongs to them. Do you know of an up and coming Hispanic star in the national arena? I'd love to hear your suggestions.
Enter your suggestions in the Comment section below!
Robert Navarro, PsyD:
Adolescent Psychotherapist and filmmaker. Current film project includes "Gang Indoctrination and Retention: A Guide for Parents of Grade School Children in the Hispanic Community". Dr. Navarro also runs a grade school bully program. Author's website Email the author