The Latina graduates of 2018 have been an incredible sight to see. Over the course of May, we’ve seen hundreds of Latinas share their stories on social media of what it has been like to pursue their education in today’s political climate and as children of immigrants and first-generation grads. Alejandrina Guzman is the student government body president and 2018 graduate of University of Texas at Austin who recently gave a commencement speech about her experience of achieving higher education and making history despite the odds.
It will have you in tears.
During her commencement speech, Guzman spoke about the immense sacrifices that her parents made to get her across the stage.
CREDIT: The University of Texas at Austin / Youtube.com
Last year, Guzman became the first Latina student body president to be elected at University of Texas at Austin. She also became the first student body president at the university to have a physical disability. In her address to a crowd of 2018 graduates, Guzman spoke about what it has meant for her to proudly wear a Latinx Grad stole on stage. “When I think back to the past 10 years, it dawns on me that none of the speakers were wearing a Latinx Grad stole, or even a Black Grad stole,” she said. “I start to ask myself, why?! Why does it take so long for this to happen? Why didn’t I ever see myself speaking at, let alone attending, The University of Texas at Austin?”
Guzman later spoke about how her father worked tirelessly at two jobs to be able to send her to college. “From working at Domino’s Pizza, driving out to work at 3 a.m. to start his shift at 5 a.m., to working outside in the sun in 100-degree weather, he has never failed to provide for our family,” Guzman said before highlight how her mother worked to help her walk even when doctors said it would be impossible. “My mom took that as a challenge,” Guzman said. “When I was 3, she would practice with me every day to help overcome my fear of falling. And although I use my wheelchair to get across the 400-acre campus, I’m able to walk because of my mom. Gracias mami y papi por tu amor.”
Guzman finished her speech with an empowering Mexican proverb that had the entire crowd showing their praise and appreciation.
Congratulating her fellow class members for going out into the world to become “teachers, playwrights, accountants, doctors and engineers,” Guzman instructed the crowd to “start planting our seeds of knowledge in the world. As the Mexican proverb goes: They tried to bury us, but they didn’t know we were seeds.”
Check out Alejandrina’s inspiring speech.
For the first minute of the video of Guzman’s speech, she is enthusiastically applauded for almost a minute by her crowd of fellow graduates.