Gonzalez encourages heritage acceptance in speech

Sydney Baltrusaitis

Students recalled their roots as multicultural speaker Bobby Gonzalez spoke about diversity Thursday night in the Student Center from 7 to 9 p.m. Gonzalez touched on many cultures and their history as well as his own Native American and Latino roots.

Gonzalez told the audience to “embrace your heritage.” Gonzalez said he is proud of his heritage, and he encourages others to feel the same about theirs.

“You can achieve great things in this world, and you can make major contributions to society without giving up who you are,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez said when you are the minority, it can be hard to fit in, and he is fortunate for growing up in times of great change. He encouraged everyone to be secure in their own identity and to connect with their roots.

Jinre Holman, junior accounting major and president of Spanish and Latino Student Association, said it is important to know your own culture to move forward.

“It’s important to understand your own culture and not only yours but also to be accepting of others because they’re also finding their way through their culture,” Holman said. “If you understand yourself, you’ll be able to understand others better.”

Gonzalez said that we live with a lot of hatred in everyday life, and that cycle can be broken.

Victor Benton, sophomore Spanish literature, culture and translation major and committee chair of SALSA, said hearing Gonzalez speak made him more secure with his African-American culture.

“I find it important to draw on your roots and your heritage as you move further in life,” Benton said. “Although I’m not actually part of the Latino culture, I do respect it, I do embrace it and I do communicate it to others as much as I support my own African-American culture.“

Gonzalez was personable and informative. Before the speech, he had one-on-one conversations with guests. Following the speech, Gonzalez was able to answer students’ questions.

Sometimes it’s easy, and sometimes it is not so easy, to reconnect with who you are, Gonzalez said.

“There is no personal growth unless there is struggle,” Gonzalez said.

Contact Sydney Baltrusaitis at [email protected].