Section: News

Adriana Gallardo delivers Latinx Heritage Month keynote

On Monday, Sept. 28, Adriana Gallardo, a community journalist for ProPublica, gave the keynote address for Latinx Heritage Month. The event was a collaboration between the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Adelante, the Latinx Student Association and A medio camino, the College’s Spanish-language magazine.

Gallardo is the recipient of the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting as well as the Peabody Award. Her reporting as part of the “Lost Mothers” series also made her a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. She formerly worked for StoryCorps, an NPR program that collects the stories of Americans to archive at the Library of Congress. Currently, Gallardo covers the New York Police Department. She is also a professor at the City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism.

At heart, Gallardo is a storyteller, as she made clear in her address on Monday. “I think a lot about how to engage with folks and communities to help us tell these stories, and it’s work that’s deeply important for me,” she said. Gallardo referred to her own story to emphasize her passion for highlighting narratives. 

Born in Mexico in 1985, Gallardo crossed the southern border with her mother and brother when she was four years old. Reflecting on this experience and other formative moments in her life, she penned a memoir called “The Lucky Ones” over the course of several years, and ProPublica published it in 2019. In an excerpt from her essay presented during the address, Gallardo read, “I became a journalist to revisit difficult stories in complicated places. To tell stories worth telling because they carry a truth that might be ignored.”

Gallardo initially struggled with how to write her personal story. She had travelled to the southern border in order to cover a story, and, while there, reflected on her crossing as a child. She told a colleague there that she felt “lucky” to have made it into the United States with her family, but after some time, she realized that was not the entirety of her feelings. “You might be struggling to tell [a story] the way you might understand it,” she told listeners in her address.

After having a discussion with her editor about the direction of her personal essay, Gallardo was encouraged to talk about the significance of her tattoos. For most of her adult life, Gallardo has gotten tattoos that carry a great amount of personal meaning. She has one of a garbage can, because both of her parents worked janitorial jobs in order to make ends meet. Gallardo also has tattoos of the words “wisdom” and “writing” in Nahuatl, a pre-Columbian language still spoken in Mexico. These two words are of great importance to her, both because of her love for language and her love for storytelling. 

Kenyon’s Latinx Heritage Month festivities will continue on Saturday, Oct. 3 with a cultural tasting event at the Allen House. Other upcoming events will be announced over weekly Latinx Heritage Month emails.

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