Roberto Lugo is one of the good guys. He could don the Superman cape and get away with it. Why? Because he’s earned it. The “good guy” title and joy borne of adversity.
Born in Philadelphia, of Puerto Rican descent, Lugo’s parents are first generation immigrants. He was brought up in Phily in a time that saw prevalent drug use, gang activity and many houses in his neighborhood abandoned due to the crack epidemic. His mother and father married young. Both had a middle school education — and lots of grit. Maribel Lugo worked in school cafeterias and other part-time jobs to keep the family afloat. Gilberto Lugo was a Pentecostal preacher who would often bike to town for work to generate income for the family. And yet it was a struggle.
Marginalized on the outskirts of American culture, Lugo was a quiet child, devoutly Christian, with a thick Spanish accent. He wrestled with reading. Teachers failed to recognize his creative talents and even alienated him when he was young and impressionable by labeling him a troublemaker during a school trip to a local prison, where he was called out and roughed up by a warden “as a lesson.” But they picked on the wrong kid. He was to rise above the mislabeling based on his skin color and speech, and shine.