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Vanessa Ruiz, a news anchor who recently joined Phoenix's NBC affiliate, 12 News, took to the air this week to address viewers after some criticized her on social media channels about her pronunciation of Spanish words.
"Some of you have noticed that I pronounce a couple of things maybe a little bit differently than what you're used to, and I get that," Ruiz told viewers.
"Just so you know, I was lucky enough to grow up speaking two languages and I have lived in other cities in the U.S., South America and Europe, so yes, I do like to pronounce certain things the way they're meant to be pronounced. And I know that change can be difficult, but it's normal and over time, I know that everything falls into place."
She went on to thank viewers for welcoming her into their homes and community.
A newscast that's more accurate and culturally inclusive? Yes, please!
"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."
A regular Twitter user, Ruiz encouraged viewers to keep tweeting her and said that she loves interacting with them. Although she received some negative and ignorant comments, she's not letting it stop her. As she wrote on Facebook: "This definitely has people talking. And that's a good thing."
We'd like to give this lady a hug on behalf of every mom that's ever wondered if raising bilingual kids is worth the struggle — no matter what languages you speak at home. Her diplomacy and conviction in not backing down just because some viewers don't like the way she speaks makes us want to give her a high five.