Chesnes spoke in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month Tuesday afternoon

Sharlene Ramos Chesnes

Sharlene Ramos Chesnes spoke about ethnic identity in the Multicultural Center Tuesday afternoon.

“If you know who you are, you can always go places,” Chesnes said.

Chesnes spoke in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month. She is a Kent State graduate, CEO of InterChez and Board of Trustees member for Northeast Ohio Medical University.

Chesnes said it is important to know your culture and ethnicity. She said there is a difference between the two.

“On this campus there’s a culture, there’s a culture the university has. At our office we have an office culture,” Chesnes said. “At home you have a culture, and then within your ethnic group you have a culture. There’s a difference when people say what’s your culture and what’s your ethnicity, you can belong to more than one.”

Chesnes stressed the importance of an education and recalled her former high school in Cleveland that has an increased drop-out rate. She said once you get a college education, you need to give back to the next person.

“Success to me is only how much you give back,” Chesnes said.

Chesnes said an entire group should not be judged by one person’s actions and to judge based on the individual.

“Other people want to identify your groups with a label that aren’t always welcome,” Chesnes said. “But we have to have our own label that we give ourselves that identifies who we are.”

Brittany Patterson, senior human development and family studies major, said she connected when Chesnes spoke about having a strong identity to help in future successes.

“I was really motivated and inspired just to continue on my path,” Patterson said. “I’m still trying to figure out exactly what my niche is.”

This event was part of the Soup and Substance monthly dialogue series presented by The Multicultural Center.

Contact Sharlene Ramos Chesnes at [email protected].