On the West Coast, we feel left out of the singular focus on the dearth of blacks in nonprofit leadership. [See “Wanted, More Black Leaders.”] Here, the preponderance of the minority population is Hispanic/Latino, in addition to Asian persons. I believe that even a larger imbalance would be discovered in a survey of Latino leadership in nonprofits.
Our agency has been vocal to point out over the years that national campaigns do not consider the different hues of minority colors shown in public relations materials being provided to us by East Coast-based organizations. People don’t aspire to leadership or volunteerism unless they can see one of their own succeeding in those positions. All minorities and diverse gender [identities] should be encouraged to succeed.
My great-great-Uncle Louis Martinet – a black lawyer, physician and publisher in New Orleans – helped begin the civil rights movement in the United States, convincing his friend Homer Plessy of the famous Supreme Court ruling – Plessy v. Ferguson – to ride in a train car for whites. Likewise, my mother was a Latina of Mexican heritage and was subjected to discrimination.
All people need to be encouraged to help themselves and others by opening the doors to the executive offices and breaking the Glass Ceiling. A slogan I heard at a conference on disability inclusion fits well in our plight to be equitable: “Nothing about us, without us.”
Ken Martinet, CEO
Catholic Big Brothers Big Sisters
Los Angeles, Calif.