Erika Gutierrez is a powerhouse community organizer and leader throughout the state, focusing on making positive change. She came to DelawareCAN from Network Delaware, where she had been a Co-coordinator for the Safe Communities Campaign since 2017, which protects immigrant communities.
Presently, she serves as a board member of Planned Parenthood, La Colectiva, as well Network Delaware. Erika is a Co-funder of the Delaware Immigrant Fund, a statewide initiative to reach and provide access for the most vulnerable immigrants, and The Helpers Delaware Pandemic Response group.
She is a 2018 fellow from the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League James H. Gilliam Sr. program and graduated from the “Leadership, Organizing and Action” program from the Harvard Kennedy School. Her most recent educational endeavour was the “Proximity Project,” a unique strategic training targeting racial equity and awareness led by Teensharp.
Erika is from Mexico and has worked as a tutor, server, librarian assistant, entrepreneur and life coach. She loves writing and transforming perspectives for a better society. She feels that once she touches people, there is a bond that connects people to the collective heart, courage and kindness. Being an advocate and social justice activist has unveiled to her the purpose of the hardship that she had to go through, and still experiences, as an immigrant so she can deeply understand, feel, relate, create and stand for those that can’t yet stand. She is also a mother of two wonderful children who advocate for themselves every day so they keep their mother accountable to become a better person and mother. Erika is very active at her children’s charter school, Las Américas ASPIRA Academy, a dual language school with a global mindset and targeted multicultural profile.
I aspire to be like _Ruth Bader Ginsburg_. Here’s why: I admire her human qualities. It is hard to live up to the highest ethical standards, especially in the highest places. I aspire to follow her lead and be honest, committed, truthful, and authentic. But most importantly, to keep shining and defending the light until the very end.
Why I love my job: I love my job because I understand the challenges that our communities face and I can make a difference every single moment, no matter time, day or season. It doesn’t feel like a job to me. Instead, it is the space where I can be who I am, I can serve with honesty and can touch families to empower them, help them learn and support them to stand up for their children.
My connection to public schools: I am the mother of two kids in public schools and I am myself a product of public education. I have experienced firsthand what poor education can do to individuals and entire communities and then what a great public education can do for individuals and communities. I have heard numerous parent voices expressing their needs, frustrations and hopes for their children’s education. That keeps me grounded and connected to realities and possibilities in public education.
What I’m bad at: Remembering names and dates, but I don’t give up in training the mind to keep practicing.
This image represents why I work at 50CAN: Every kid should have access to quality education and resources. By experiencing my kids Kaben and Erien’s learning through the years, I can see how exposure to quality learning tools and instruction make a difference in children’s lives. I want that for every kid.