I have had the honor and privilege of meeting and interviewing thousands of Latina and Latino Leaders. The majority of these persons do not have a formal position or administrative title of "leader" but they do embrace the best qualities of individuals who are proactive, meet challenges head-on and are dedicated to overcoming them.
There are three main reasons for presenting these outstanding Leaders to a global audience.
The first one is to reverse the misaligned public perception that the Latino community lacks leaders and role models. Secondly, to help the listeners understand and support the work of their local leaders. The third goal is to help us learn from their experiences and be inspired and motivated to follow in their footsteps by implementing their initiatives and programs in our own communities.
Over the years, I have read and heard comments that our community would be greatly improved if it had leaders. I wondered if what was being insinuated was that we didn't have leaders. Through my work in the media and broadcasting profession, I have discovered that we do have a growing number of formal leaders and they do get both local and national media attention. What I also discovered is that there are many individuals who, despite not having a great deal of financial resources, public support nor media attention, exist and persist onward and upward.
I find that these individuals are very special and we benefit because of their passion, commitment and hard work. They vary in age. Some leaders have been as young as 14 years old. Others began their leadership roles in their 80's and older. Still others have been doing it their whole lives. They started because they personally experienced an injustice or because they saw an injustice or social need and made a conscious decision to bring about change.
They dedicate themselves to right the wrongs! They set their course of action to counter major institutions and "common practices" and question the way they conduct normal business. Through their individual efforts they bring in new insights and perspectives and seek changes for the better that will ultimately benefit those around them.
The second reason was to share their story, in their own words, of what moved them to become leaders. These outstanding leaders are walking amongst us. They are normally not subtle nor quiet. Yet they can seem as invisible or perhaps even purposely ignored by the general populace.
That is the issue I decided to address in my shows and focus to reverse through my podcast series.
Their work and objectives are noble ones and yet many are ignored or even banished because they are seen as rebels, outsiders or radicals. Yes, these leaders are uncomfortable with the ways thing are going on and are outspoken and want to share and discuss ways things can be changed and improved. Their proactive nature may make others who have conformed very uncomfortable. The more we listen and learn from these unique and wonderful individuals, the more we realize that they are vital to the benefit of our lives. They merit our full attention and support.
The third reason is to learn from their life experiences and begin asking how we can help them and seek to incorporate their programs into our own communities. What leaders have in common is that they are proactive individuals . They are working to implement a program that responds to a unmet need. We begin by asking if this need is also in our community. If so, we begin by supporting and sponsoring local individuals and organizations working to fill that need. We are also invited to support the individuals highlighted in my podcast series. We can support their cause with financial resources and participation. Lets recognize and honor their efforts.
These unsung leaders are role models to all of us.
I also meet, read and hear stories of outstanding youth taking on major obstacles and making a difference. I recommend to everyone to go on-line and read about the outstanding work 14-18 year olds are doing. Visit the web site of the "Nestle Very Best In Youth". Read about the remarkable projects these young adults throughout the nation are doing.
I am hopeful that the Latino Role Model podcast series will motivate many more of us to also take up a cause and go out and make a difference. The series is also meant to help us learn how to take the first steps toward joining and participating. A major point is to also take the stories of the Role Models and share them with our youth. Let's educate and support them to embrace their humanity and seek to work for others.
I am happy to share that we have fabulous Latina and Latino leaders that are outstanding role models. Now the challenge before us is to make sure the number of our leaders keeps increasing. Begin today!