Listen to a Clip of the Interview
Hear More From Roberto Kelly
Subscribe to our email list and get access to our Digital Library, where you can find interview transcripts, full-length interviews, resources for educators and researchers, and more!
Roberto Kelly was born in Bocas Del Toro, Panama in 1961, and lived there until he finished his secondary education and left for Costa Rica for theological study. Now living back in his native country and working as a security guard, Kelly is also a bishop in the Spiritual Baptist church, a denomination that is close to his heart because he identifies it as a rich and important part of his Afro-West Indian heritage. Roberto feels that maintaining a close relationship with God is important because salvation is the key to success in life. According to him, it is extremely important for Afro-Antillanos to preserve their unique heritage through their religious practices, food, music, and other things related to their culture. He identifies West Indian Panamanians as hardworking and resourceful, despite the fact that they are often deprived of opportunities to succeed. Kelly is married and has three children who he has taught to speak English and who he is trying to raise according to his strong beliefs.