Then There Was The Time Someone Walked Out Of My Keynote When I Mentioned I Am An Immigrant…

Being a keynote speaker and an immigrant in the Midwest can often be a challenge.

Oh, how silly of me! What a typo! Let me try that again…

Then there WERE the TIMES someone walked out of my keynote when I mentioned I am an immigrant.

During my keynotes, something surprising often happens: individuals exit the room when I mention my immigrant status. Initially, I didn’t worry about it, as people leave for various reasons. However, soon, I noticed a clear pattern. Each time I introduced myself as someone born in Mexico, an attendee would leave.

Typically, I discuss my background early in my speeches. This segment always makes me a bit nervous. When I observe attendees frowning and departing, I want to provide clarification and foster understanding, but I realize it’s futile.

The Challenge of Misunderstood Heritage

The majority of people aren’t familiar with my full story. They may not be aware that my mother is a U.S. citizen from California. Additionally, they remain uninformed about my grandfather’s status as a World War II hero or my great-grandfather’s collaboration with Disney. Furthermore, they have no knowledge of my great-grandmother, a woman who was ahead of her time.

Upon hearing the terms “immigrant” and “Mexico,” they decide to leave. Moreover, they remain unaware that our legal immigration process is extensive and strictly adheres to the rules. My journey of learning English and adapting to American culture is another aspect that often goes unnoticed. Yet, merely hearing the words “immigrant” and “Mexico” prompts their departure.

Maintaining composure during these moments can be challenging for me. Unfortunately, this scenario unfolds more frequently than I would prefer.

Remaining True to My Story

So, how do I handle this situation? By responding with kindness and understanding. I acknowledge that their actions stem from ignorance, and I regret that we can’t engage in a genuine dialogue. I must continue sharing my story as an immigrant. Initially, I used to be apprehensive about speaking out, but now I assist others in finding their voices.

I take pride in my identity – my Mexican heritage and my American citizenship. My objective is to contribute to the creation of a nation where everyone’s voice is heard, thus making it a place for the courageous and the free.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ Always remember to share your story.

Keep speaking up your story,



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Real solutions come from open conversations, not from intense debates where someone has to lose. Talking about our country with kindness and respect is really the best approach to make things better, not tear us apart.