José Oliva, Staff Writer
October 2, 2015
Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month by celebrating the histories, cultures, and contributions of Hispanics in the U.S. from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.
Guilford joined the celebrations by inviting Kathy Hinshaw to be the first speaker of the Mosaic Leadership Series on Sept. 21.
Hinshaw is a Latina leader and an advocate for immigrants and refugees in North Carolina. Originally from Cusco, Peru, Hinshaw serves as the president of the Latino Community Coalition of Guilford County.
“I have worked in this field for 15 years with immigrants and refugees, saw their struggles and strengths and learned from them,” said Hinshaw during her remarks. “Seeking social change and justice is hard and it takes a united community to work on that.”
The Guilford community welcomed Hinshaw with a round of applause.
“She is a tireless leader in the immigrant community here in Greensboro,” said Irving Zavaleta, assistant director of the Multicultural Education Department.
Hinshaw shared her story about growing up in Peru, and how her family influenced her to become a leader for social justice.
“My parents were my role models,” said Hinshaw. “I always saw the humility of my parents. They would mingle with people who had less than us. I had the opportunity to see the inequality in my country.”
Although this month is full of celebrations for the work of Hispanics in the U.S., Hinshaw took the time to mention the many challenges the Hispanic community faces.
“The Hispanics community faces many challenges such as immigration reform, driver license, tuition inequality, the relationship between law enforcement and Hispanics and other issues,” stated Hinshaw.
Tuition inequality, one of the major issues, affects undocumented students in North Carolina. If you are undocumented, public universities charge you out-state tuition, even if you meet all the other qualifications to be consider a state resident.
Guilford provides all students a flat tuition rate, supporting undocumented students for many years despite the lack of support from the state.
“Supporting undocumented students to succeed at Guilford is something that our staff has been working to develop potential networks and scholarship programs,” said Todd Clark, vice president of student affairs and dean of students, who was present at the event. “I’m excited about the difference they might make.”
Many bills have been presented to the North Carolina General Assembly to support undocumented residents. Only a few bills have passed. However, community leaders like Hinshaw never give up.
“I have faced many obstacles and barriers while doing this work, but what keeps me going is my community,” said Hinshaw.
At the end of the evening, Hinshaw had inspired those present to become agents of change.
“I really appreciated the moment when she shared about what it was that inspired and caused her to become agent of change,” said Chris Duenas, sophomore. “I realized the level at which we had all just connected.”