When you first join API Mid Tennessee, you are guaranteed to meet the amazing mind behind our organization. That person is Executive Director Joseph Gutierrez. He has played a key role in helping our group make leaps and bounds. We are excited to share his perspective on uplifting API voices, and how he has discovered his Filipinx heritage.
What are ways that you try to uplift API voices?
In a lot of ways, I believe that us coming together through API Middle Tennessee builds a platform for API voices to be heard. It's important for people to know that there is a community here for them, but one that listens.
What has your journey been like discovering your heritage?
I'm originally from Los Angeles, CA where Asian culture is a lot more ubiquitous. Coming to the American south has made me think about my identity a lot more critically. Over the past year or so, I've been intentionally learning more about Filipinx history by just reading more. I've devoted some time to reading the works of Jose Rizal and learning more about Filipinx labor movements in California.
Who is one person in API history that you look up to?
I look up to Grace Lee Boggs, a Chinese American scholar and activist. Her work to empower the marginalized in Detroit is an inspiration for me.
We are very thankful to have Joseph as one of our leaders. His talent and skills have really made our group what is today. He’s laid the foundation for what our group will be in the future.