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The Political Reformer

News Story

Laurianne Gutierrez ’21 is proud of her Filipino heritage. She pursued political science because of it, co-launching the Pace Students Against Gun Violence organization and winning an award for her gun reform petition to Senator Chuck Schumer.

It’s safe to say Laurianne Gutierrez ’21 has always been politically active. As a child, she engaged in frequent political debates and discussions—with her father, that is. “I was very much aware of the injustices that were happening in the world,” she told us. “We would talk about the week’s current events, as well as engage in some form of debate that would ultimately enable us to learn from one another.”

When it came time to look for colleges, Gutierrez had a specific location in mind. “I knew I wanted to be in New York City,” she told us. “Growing up, my parents always encouraged me to pursue the things I was passionate about and to seize the opportunities that came my way. This sort of optimism profoundly influenced my college search process, as I felt this pull to be in an environment where the opportunities truly are endless.” And it was Pace’s motto, Opportunitas, that initially caught her attention. “The search for opportunities has truly been a marker of my identity, which I largely attribute to my identity as a Filipino immigrant.”

Her heritage was also what inspired her to major in political science. She explained that, “I entered college at a time when anti-immigrant sentiment was growing rampant, and I wanted to somehow combat this hateful, divisive rhetoric.” Even before Gutierrez came to Pace, she worked to enrich her local community by volunteering for God’s Love We Deliver, a charitable organization that delivers non-perishable items to people in need. “The overwhelming sense of gratitude was palpable every time I would deliver food to the clients’ door,” she said. Her work with them continues to this day—and she didn’t stop there.

After coming to Pace, Gutierrez won the Debating for Democracy 2018 “Letter to an Elected Official” competition along with David Lê ’19. Their letter urged Senator Chuck Schumer to introduce legislation to repeal the Dickey Amendment in an effort to end gun violence in the US. “I strongly encourage Pace students to seek out ways in which they can get involved in their community,” she said. “We each have a voice and it is crucial to surround ourselves with people who will amplify that voice.”

It should come as no surprise, then, that Gutierrez would help launch a brand new student organization for that very purpose. She detailed her efforts to start the Pace Students Against Gun Violence (PSAGV) organization in The Pace Press. “[The] PSAGV is an initiative that would not have been possible without the unparalleled support of the Center for Community Action and Research,” Gutierrez explained. With their help, she tabled and spoke to students directly during the Spring 2019 semester, pooling their thoughts on gun reform and amassing a whopping 1,000 signatures for a petition they presented to their elected officials.

“PSAGV began as a grassroots effort that grew into something I did not know was possible,” Gutierrez told us. “While working on this initiative, I saw firsthand the power of mobilization and the impact of working with fellow students who share a passion for civic engagement.”

Last summer, Gutierrez interned at the Asian American Federation in research and policy, where she and her fellow interns met city councilmembers, oversaw hearings, and even attended rallies. But it was one moment in particular that really stood out: meeting New York Attorney General Letitia James. “[It was] during an event pertaining to opposing the addition of [a] citizenship question on the 2020 Census. Ensuring that the Asian American community receives a fair and accurate count on the upcoming Census was one of the projects I was heavily involved in.” And James? “I was in awe and quite starstruck,” Gutierrez enthused.

We’re so excited to see where she goes next! Did you know she also played violin since she was six years old? Gutierrez played at Carnegie Hall where her younger sister, Gabby Gutierrez, was the first Filipino actor to perform the role of Matilda in Matilda the Musical: First National Tour. The more you know!

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