Vanessa Ruiz recently came on as an anchor for 12 News in Phoenix and while some welcomed her with open arms, she faced criticism — not of her stories, but for her accent.
They apparently didn't like the way Ruiz — who grew up in Colombia, Miami, and Spain — pronounced certain words. Sandra Kotzambasis, 12 News' director told BuzzFeed News that some viewers took issues with the way she pronounced her colleague's name.
Others took to social media to hate on the way she said the names of certain cities — cities named after the cultural influences of Mexico.
So Ruiz decided to respond.
In a statement made on air last Monday, she explained her reasoning for pronouncing words the way she does — and why she won't stop:
"I was raised speaking both languages and for me, certain words just sound better when said in their natural way. It really is that simple.
"Nothing more, nothing less.
"Let me be clear: My intention has never been to be disrespectful or dismissive, quite the contrary. I actually feel I am paying respect to the way some of Arizona's first, original settlers intended for some things to be said.
"I know it may surprise some of you and maybe even rub some people the wrong way. I get it and know I am always open to engage in thoughtful dialogue about it."
"I don't intend to come to Phoenix and do things 'my way,' however my goal is to stay authentic to who I am while, hopefully, making our newscasts more open and inclusive to everyone, no matter where they come from."
In other words, she pronounced traditionally Spanish names in the way they are supposed to sound, rolled R's included.
It may not be what everyone is used to, but in doing so, she says she's honoring the Spanish language.
Of course, her take-no-sh*t response elicited more racist comments online.
But she had a few supporters, too.
Ruiz isn't backing down either, and tweeted an additional response to a naysayer, exemplifying what makes America, well, America: the ability to disagree, and tolerance of others.
Standing up for your culture and your beliefs — now that's a first impression!