Diversity Spotlight: Anna Semidei

October 12, 2020

Photo of Anna SemideiName: Anna Semidei
Year: Junior
Majors: Criminal Justice & Spanish
Minors: Law, Justice and Public Policy & Chicano and Latino Studies
Hometown: Midland MI


Where does your family lineage go back to/where does your Hispanic Heritage come from?

My family is from Puerto Rico. My parents were born and raised in Puerto Rico and eventually moved to the mainland US as adults. All my family outside of my immediate family lives there.


How has your Hispanic Heritage shaped you as a person?

It has shaped me to become more aware of the injustices of the world. Throughout my life I was faced with microaggressions whenever people knew about my heritage, which forced me to fight against the stereotypes that others tried to impose on me. There was a constant need to prove those stereotypes wrong, and even when I did prove them wrong, people were still surprised that I wasn't like what they expected. And that experience changed how I viewed the world and made me want to change the world so that others wouldn’t feel the same way I did.

It also shaped me because I grew up in a place with a limited Hispanic community. That often made me the only one in my classes who was Hispanic. It's incredibly difficult to grow up without people who aren't like you and it can be isolating at times. It made me fiercely independent when it came to my identity and forced me to stand up for who I am and where I came from unapologetically.


What does your Hispanic Heritage mean to you?

My Hispanic Heritage really means everything to me. I find it hard to see myself as anything but Hispanic, and I don’t really identify as anything but Hispanic. I grew up surrounded by the culture and I haven’t really known anything other than being Hispanic, or specifically Puerto Rican. It is so tied with how I identify myself that I can’t really describe what it means because being Hispanic is who I am.
To me, being Hispanic is like a direct line into a beautifully diverse culture that I get to be a part of. I can bond with people all over the world because of this thing we have in common, which is pretty amazing.


What are your plans after graduation? What do you hope to do?

After graduation I plan to apply to law school. I hope to be a Civil Rights lawyer and specialize in Latinx Rights in the US.


What are some things about your heritage that you wish more people understood?

I wish more people understood that Hispanic heritage isn’t any one thing. People like to put certain qualifications on being Hispanic; things like were you born in a Spanish speaking country, do you speak Spanish, how much time have you spent in a Spanish speaking country, do you eat the food, do you look a certain way, etc. All of those are supposed to somehow factor into whether or not you can call yourself Hispanic. But there is so much variety that I wish more people acknowledged.