By Alejandra Carrillo
Overcoming bullyingcaused by a speech impediment, East Los Angeles College student, Ruben Perez, now finds himself interviewing up-and-coming artists from the United States and Mexico.
Perez suffers from a communication disorder known as stuttering. It is a disorder in which the flow of speech is broken by repetitions, prolongations or abnormal stoppages of sounds and syllables.
“The speech side of my brain, which I believe is the left side, did not develop properly,” Perez said. As a young child, Perez was made fun of by classmates and friends.
“I did not have many friends growing up. Other than a few friends, I only had one friend who also stuttered, not as bad as me, but we eventually grew apart,” Perez said.
He says bullies were everywhere and times were tough up until he graduated high school. “After high school, people were more understanding about my condition, even at job interviews,” Perez said.
According to Perez people would frequently tell him that he will never be able to accomplish anything in life.
“People would always tell me how will I get a job or how will I be able to communicate with others,” Perez said. Perez has been a student at ELAC for four years.
He began his career at ELAC as a Nursing major, but decided that he would much rather pursue a career in Journalism.
“I love to write. Writing is how I express what I want to say,” Perez said. He jokingly added, “I am better at writing than at speaking anyway.”
About a year ago, Perez was introduced to a friend who ran a website called entertainmentrocks.com He became partners with his friend and together work in the site updating fans on their favorite artists.
The website has 1600 Facebook followers and averaging around 200 twitter followers.
Entertainment Rocks is a website that works with a lot of Latin American Pop artists such as Belinda, Belanova and Reik.
Perez’s most recent interview was with DJ’s 3Ball MTY, who originated in Monterrey, Mexico, but have become a big hit in this country.
The website also covered and informed fans about this year’s 55th Annual Grammy Awards. With a smile on his face, Perez said “I talk to top-notch people in the entertainment industry sometimes.”
“We email publicists and set up interviews via emails or in person with artists. We also get invited to a lot of movie premiers,” he continued.
Other than the website, Perez has made a YouTube video talking about his disorder and how it should not stop anyone from pursuing goals. He plans to make more videos in the future.
“I like communicating with people. I used to be so shy about my stuttering but the website has helped me a lot to keep coming out of my shell,” Perez said.
Perez mentioned that there have been people who suffer with this condition that have inspired him. “There is this contestant on the new season of American Idol, named Lazaro Arbos, who has inspired me a lot.”
“He shows how no one should let a disability stop you,” Perez said.
Perez explains how he also wants to be an inspiration to others. He wants to one day inspire people who stutter that stuttering should not hold them back.
“One of my goals is to write a book about my struggles in life with stuttering and how one can overcome them,” Perez said.
The Journalism major now works at Academy Huntington Park College Ready High School in an after school program.
He helps students improve their writing skills.
“I have actually had a couple of students come up to me and tell me how courageous I am for interacting and trying to communicate with people,” Perez said.
Ironically, now working with high school students, Perez would like to tell his old high school bullies, “I would rather not waste my time with everything I would like to say them, but I will say ‘Your bullying did not stop me from pursuing my goals.’”