Ashford Alum Talks Hispanic Heritage Month, Embracing Diversity
For Ashford University alum Ivan Gutierrez, diversity is something that people can see, but not always accept. In a recent conversation about Hispanic Heritage Month, the United States Marine Corps veteran said that too much of the national dialogue over immigrant families is dominated by the idea of “handouts” and negative stereotypes are harming both sides of the debate.
Gutierrez, who earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at Ashford and now works for the Department of Homeland Security, offered himself as an example of a Mexican-American who has worked for everything that he’s received, including the prestigious Presidential Management Fellowship.
“I come from a hard-working immigrant family, my father has always worked in construction, and my mother in maintenance,” he said. “Growing up I was taught that everything would have to be earned, nothing would be given to me.”
Diversity of cultures and population are woven into the fabric of America, Gutierrez said, adding that he wished those with prejudices about Latino families would understand that their focus is “family and helping others in need.”
“Mexican-Americans have been an integral part in the construction of our nation,” he said. “I am Mexican by birth, American by choice.
“I know that there are always going to be misconceptions…however those can be undone by talking to one another.”
Written by Ashford University staff