Diversity Statement: What Makes Me Diverse?

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“What makes me diverse?” When deciding whether or not to write a diversity statement, I created a mental list of the diverse groups to which I belong based on that question. But as I listed out these characteristics: half-Chicana, half white, ex-Mormon, a single mother, first-generation college graduate, I realized that I do not easily identify with any one particular race, religion or class. Instead, I have spent most of my life living in a world between the different groups to which I belong.
Growing up in a predominately white, small town in Utah, my peers often referred to me as “the Mexican.” I enjoyed a mainly lower-middle-class upbringing and while there were times my family needed food stamps and other government aid to survive, necessity afforded me the opportunity to gain a strong work ethic at a young age. I began my first job at 12 and by age 18, I provided for all of my living and educational expenses on my own. Working at such a young age was not common among my peers and this added to their perception of me being “the Mexican.” I was confused as to why my race was pointed out so often because I did not consider myself to be Mexican. I spoke little Spanish and when I spent time with my Spanish speaking extended
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Growing up Mormon, nearly every aspect of my daily life was influenced by some sort of religious practice or tradition. I followed a series of strict rules and immersed myself in each step of the Mormon tradition as required by my parents, but I had doubts about the religion from a young age. These doubts made me feel different from the community around me and led to a great deal of cognitive dissonance. Eventually, my divergent opinions about sexuality, race and gender roles led to me renounce Mormonism, but it to several years for me to make this decision because I lived in fear of being disowned by my family and

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