Roland Emerson Roebuck
Speaking with conviction and passion, Afro-Latino activist Roland Roebuck never leaves an audience uninspired.
“I identify myself with a lot of intensity,” said Roebuck, who uses the terms Afro-Descendant, Afro-Latino and Afro to refer to himself. Roebuck is a well-known D.C. activist and a spokesperson of conflicts that impact Afro-Descendants and immigrants from around the world.
Born in 1947 in Bronx, New York and raised in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, Roebuck attended school in Puerto Rico from the age of five until the end of his high school career. After graduation he was ushered into training to become a barber, but just as quickly, he quit and found his way to St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, where he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1969. During that time he was stationed in Okinawa, Vietnam, Philippines and Thailand. He was honorably discharged in 1973. A year later, Roebuck moved to Washington, D.C., and earned a B.A. in education from Federal City College.
Roebuck has worked with various organizations including, the U.S. Co-Chair of Civil Society with the U.S.-Brazil Joint Action Plan to Promote Racial Ethnic Equality. Other commissions include the Latino Economic Development Corporation, Commission on Latino Community Development, and the Smithsonian Center for Latino Programs.
More importantly, Roebuck’s hard work and determination through advocacy and mentoring has propelled organizations across the nation and elected officials to put into practice programs that focus on minority groups.
“During my advocacy, one of the things that I do is the following. I look at the paper and I find certain issues that are relevant to the Latino community. And I make a quick determination as to whether or not I will be able to impact upon that issue,” said Roebuck.
Roebuck continues to educate and encourage youth in his community. The work he has accomplished throughout his career has led him to be the founding member of several community organizations in the Washington, D.C. area. His undying fight against racism and to better ethnic equality has inspired many, young and old alike.