Guerrero: L.A. needs a new generation of Latino leaders, especially women
For over a decade, I’ve worked with dozens of Latino leaders in L.A. and L.A. County who all share similar goals: They want to break from the old status quo and make a better life for themselves and their loved ones in the places they come from.
But a great many of my Latino colleagues have struggled with a unique and particular challenge: how to be truly successful as leaders.
It’s not a problem that’s unique to L.A. or Latino leadership. Every major city has to manage its leaders, because when the leader isn’t successful, whether the result is a big budget shortfall, or even a run for office, the city may be unable to function.
But in Los Angeles, Latino leaders face an even higher bar, because they often come from communities where a generation of Latinos were burdened with negative stereotypes surrounding them. They came to terms with the fact that they might struggle to make ends meet, and so they began looking for ways to succeed.
For decades, they had to struggle to overcome poverty and lack of public services. Then came a period of optimism that was punctuated by the 1990s pop “Mexican Wave” and later by the 2008 housing crash. But despite all of this, Latinos are still the poorest group in L.A., and they are still the group with the lowest median earnings in the county.
By the 2000s the Latino population had begun to come back, and once again, they were struggling to find work, make ends meet and become successful as leaders.
But the Latino community in L.A. County has not gotten back to its former status as the most successful.
The most recent census data shows that Latinos now represent 14% of all the city’s population. But while this represents a significant boom for the Latino community in L.A., more importantly, it also paints a grim reality for Latinos everywhere else in our city:
In the 2011-2012 L.A.