Part 2 of 2: The state of role models
January 21, 2013 · Print This Article
To read part 1, click here.
According to a 2010 national study by the Pew Hispanic Research, when asked who the most important Latino leader in the country is today, 64 percent of respondents said “I don’t know”, while 10 percent said “no one”, an eye opening revelation to say the least. But perhaps when confronted with the question respondents were thinking of national leaders, according to Marrero, there are several in the area our youth can look up to.
“Well Mike Ferrer (director of programs at the Lorain County Urban League), is an ideal role model. He gives youth a voice, he allows them to speak out,” said Marrero. “Also Ed
Morales, he’s kind of behind the scenes but he really cares about his community and works hard.”
“Today, young people have access to the world at their fingertips; role models both good and bad are seen every day on their phone, on television and on their computer,” Rivera said this access causes young people to often change who they look up to on television, Chris Brown one day, Justin Bieber the next. “Though everyone agrees the preferred role model is a parent that may not always be the case.”
Arroyo said there people our youth can look up to and model themselves after.
“Dennis Kucinich (former Congressional representative and current FOX News contributor), as a kid he lived in numerous places, before 17 he was sleeping in a car and he became one of Cleveland’s mayors, he was standing up to banks, standing up strong, and he became a U.S. Congressman and presidential candidate, he is focused an determined,” he said.
The American culture is seen as a culture of forgiveness, and of second chances, but do you trust those who have had second chances with our nation’s youth? With your child?
“Yes, look at Ray Lewis (professional football player originally charged with murder than agreed to a plea deal and pleaded guilty of obstruction of justice and testified against co-defendants), biggest positive person for the kids, and look at Bill Clinton (42nd president of the United States impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives for perjury and obstruction of justice),” said Arroyo.
“Just because that person made a mistake doesn’t mean that person is immoral,” said Marrero. ”All types of leaders are going to make mistakes, be accountable and learn from the mistake”
A leader in Lorain who has been given a second chance is 2nd Ward Councilman Dennis Flores. In May 2008, Flores was stopped by police while driving drunk when he allegedly tried to pick up a prostitute who was part of a police sting. Flores pleaded no contest to those charges, and was convicted of solicitation and failure to maintain physical control, a charge reduced from DUI. Flores lost his Council seat in 2009 but regained it in 2011, a year in which he also was charged with a firearms violation for failing to notify police that he was carrying a concealed weapon. Flores pleaded no contest to that charge and was fined $100.
However Flores was re-elected as councilman because of his relationship with voters and “the good he does” in his ward. Flores puts up Christmas lights in the downtown area, he mows grass at vacant properties to keep neighborhoods clean, and he takes stray and sick animals to the veterinarian.
Marrero said as a councilman certain expectations are assumed and what happened to Councilman Flores does not mean he cannot be a role model; it does not mean he cannot lead.
“There has to be remorse, accountability, and repentance, if you don’t have those three in place than you’re not a role model”, she said. “[The person has to say] “I’m going to make sure I don’t do this again to the best of my ability, so maybe I’ll go get help” People tend to think if they do make a mistake then they are no longer a role model, but you are going to make mistakes”
“A role model should have a goal and a vision,” said Arroyo. “Kids need to see the vision; they need to see the process.”