In 2011, Mr. Renteria was the first Latino to ever receive The Outstanding International Humanitarian Award for promoting global peace and education.
In the early 1960s, only four percent of Latinos graduated high school, and only two percent went on to college. Today, education for the Latino (the Hispanic American) and all ethnicities is becoming the great equalizer that cuts across gender, color, religion and national origin. The memories of welfare, drugs, discrimination, crime, alcohol, unemployment and underemployment, gangs, violence and all other obstacles (or, should I say, perceived obstacles) are now being challenged by Hispanics all around the world.
All races who were once poor are building great successes and accomplishments globally and have obviously made a long overdue decision to come together, take the lead and draw from our roots to break through the barriers that have tried to boycott us from economic power.
We must truly believe in ourselves regardless of our background, economic position, language, length of out hair, color of our skin or gender. It comes down to the core values my mother taught me: “familia” (family) and “orgullo” (pride). Don’t let where you came from dictate who you are but let it be a part of who you become.
There are a lot of people out there who think that we as Latinos are the minority, I am here to tell you that we are not the minority but rather we are the majority. I could say to those folks “look out baby here we come but I am going to say, look our baby because we are already here.”
It’s our time “mi familia” (my family), it’s our time, it’s Latino time and an idea who’s time has come…..that one you reading this article today, maybe one of your children, or some other Hispanic across this great county mark my word will in this lifetime be sworn in as the first Latino and or Latina President of the United States of America!
I want all of you to dream and to dream big because if the dream is big enough the odds don’t even matter. I learned a long time ago to never let anybody ever tell you that you can’t do something-because as long as we have a corazon (heart), we always have a chance.
The fact that I am writing this article today proves that any little boy and or girl coming from the barrio can become a published author, it also proves that dreams do come true and that dreams are alive and well living today right here and right now!
Lets remember to take care of each-other because that’s how the foundation of this world was built, so lets be champions of this place here today that we call home, to take care of our families, our neighbors, our communities, our great cities and then beyond.
I want all of you to believe in yourselves, you see belief is like air, even though we cant see air we still breath and even though we can’t see God we still believe, and that my friends is called faith, faith to be anybody you want to be.
LONG LIVE THE BARRIO-IT’S OUR TIME
Robert J. Renteria, Jr. was the first Latino in the world to ever receive two National Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Awards for his work as a civil rights leader and a Latino voice in educational reform. In 2012, Robert Renteria’s comic book Mi Barrio was voted the best graphic novel in Latin America, Spain, and the United States of America for addressing youth issues.
National PTA’s Every Child in Focus is a campaign to strengthen family engagement in schools by celebrating the achievements and reporting the disparities within diverse populations, and sharing resources and advocacy tools to help understand the needs of every child.
Each month, National PTA will spotlight the educational issues surrounding a particular group, highlight their accomplishments and focus on ways to help foster Family-School Partnerships. September is the month of the Hispanic Child.