Speaker uses childhood as example in speech

Colleen Stein

Colleen Stein

In celebration of Hispanic Heritage month, Latino speaker Betty Ramirez Swinners will come to SDSU to deliver her speech, “A Story of Hope and Fried Chicken.”

SDSU students and faculty and all members of the community are invited to come and listen to Swinners on Wednesday, Sept. 22, at 7 p.m. in the Northern Biostress Building, room 103.

Swinners specializes in sharing her stories of success and survival as a former abused and homeless child.

The speech she will deliver to SDSU relates to a time when she was a young girl living on the streets.

“I found an old abandon building and once I moved in, I discovered there was a Church of Chicken across the street,” Swinners said.

“To me, it offered a sense of hope, a new start. I knew that I wasn’t going to die of starvation, that there were going to be leftovers in the dumpster. It gave me a sense that everything was going to be alright.”

Swinners, a Texas native, has been working as a motivational speaker for over 14 years.

In 1999, she became the owner and CEO of Diversity Speakers, a culturally diverse bureau of speakers who strive to recognize and create a better understanding within the ethnically diverse communities across the world.

Diversity Speakers is host to several speakers, all from different racial and gender backgrounds. They provide presentations and motivational training everywhere, from government agencies to nonprofit institutions.

Through her own stories of hope, Swinners works to encourage college students to keep motivated to stay in college. She understands that most of the kids in college have faced disappointments in their lives and her advice to them is to push forward and continue their journey.

“No one can take away your education,” Swinners explains. “You can lose everything you have in a minute but your education will always be with you.”

The speaker places a lot of emphasis on education because she was deprived of her own as a child. Due to her mother’s lack of concern for her children’s education, Swinners only attended the second and fifth grades.

Swinners explains that second grade was a horrible experience for her as she was placed by the government into a Catholic school.

She recalls having difficulties because she was left-handed and the teacher, a nun, constantly slapped her hand and told her she must write using her right hand.

Fifth grade proved to be more promising as Swinners cites her second teacher as a source of inspiration who urged her to excel and strive to learn.

Today, Swinners holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of California-Berkeley.

By using her own life experiences to inspire others, Swinners has made it her life’s goal to help others persevere. Her motto is:

“If you believe you will achieve. It does not matter where you came from, only where you are going.”

For more information about Betty Swinners or Diversity Speakers, visit http://www.diversityspeakers.com.