About the Author
What’s in a Name?
Guerrero Means Warrior
By Lisa Guerrero
When I was eight years old my mother Lucy, a beautiful and vibrant 29-year-old Chilean immigrant, was diagnosed with lymphoma.
She would have only a few more months to live although my six-year-old brother Richard and I had no idea what was happening and why my father, typically smiling and playful was suddenly so serious and clearly distraught.
As my mom rapidly became weak and emaciated, she gently pulled me aside for an urgent message that seemed incomprehensible to me at the time but has become the basis for my book and a gift that has taken me five decades to unwrap and understand.
“Lisita, never forget that Guerrero means Warrior in Spanish. You were born to fight.”
Clearly, she wanted me to understand something important about my heritage, my future, and my name. But as a shy, bookish little girl, I had no idea what this meant. Being brave, a fighter, A WARRIOR seemed like the most difficult thing in the world. Especially without a mother to guide me.
My grandfather, Raul Guerrero was a tailor in Santiago, Chile, who was brought to Chicago by a Salvation Army officer to work as a tailor. My mother was the oldest of five children who had to quickly learn English to assimilate. She met my father, Walter Coles, a blue-eyed handsome young man from the south, who had traveled north to the University of Chicago to earn a master’s degree in social services.
When they had children, my mother rarely spoke Spanish around us and wanted my brother and I to speak perfect English. Like other new immigrants, she wanted her kids to do well in school and succeed in America. She wanted us to have all the advantages that other neighborhood kids would have. My mother was very proud of her heritage, but she had seen how difficult it could be for Latinos who faced racism and small-mindedness.
But before she died, she wanted me to know that although I was born Lisa Coles, I had a legacy to embrace. One that made me special. That made me a warrior. As an adult, I legally changed my name to Lisa Guerrero as I began to appreciate and understand the importance of my name. Especially when as a national sportscaster, news reporter and then investigative journalist, that name was flashed on screen in every report I’ve delivered over 30 years on camera to hundreds of millions of people worldwide. On Inside Edition, they see me “chasing bad guys”, and to our audience I appear courageous in the pursuit of finding justice for victims of crimes or scams. Over the years, I’ve learned to overcome fear and insecurity to tap into my inner superhero, and in my book, I explain how you can too.
I started doing keynote speeches to corporate and nonprofit audiences years ago, and every topic I discuss touches on the importance of being a warrior, especially as Latinas in the workforce who will often face challenges that many of our colleagues might not, and practical advice on how to be braver in personal and professional interactions. I believe that bravery is like a muscle that with practice and determination will become stronger over time so that when you need it, courage will be your go-to position. I often wonder what my mother would have thought of the career I’ve carved out for myself, the book that is an homage to her and the message I want to convey to young Latinas in media, journalism, and business. I’m sharing those words – the love letter- she left me with: You are a warrior… You were born to fight!