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'That's my passion, to help people': Midlands man honored by Mexican government

Ivan Segura is the kind of man that people call a true role model.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Ivan Segura is a man who has dedicated his life to helping those in the Latino community.

He says, "That's my passion, to help people." 

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"I am an immigrant. I was born and raised in Mexico. I came to South Carolina when I was 24," he said. 

For 18 years, he worked to develop grassroot leadership for Hispanics. "I always found the time to help my community, It doesn't matter if I was tired or a weekend," said Segura.

For the last two years, he's worked as the program manager at the South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs.

"I've finally had a job that finally pays me to do this," says Segura, you can hear him smiling.  

Because of his contributions he was recently awarded one of the highest awards given by the Mexican government, an Ohtli Award.

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Hispanic Heritage Month Events Calendar

Looking for ways to celebrate #HispanicHeritageMonth? Visit our website to view a list of events from around the state. https://cma.sc.gov/minority-population-divisions/hispaniclatino-affairs-division If you want your event included in this list, email atovar@cma.sc.gov.

Posted by South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs on Wednesday, September 15, 2021

"Ohtli means 'he who forges the past.' This is the highest honor that the Mexican government bestows to people who have dedicated their lives to bettering the lives of Mexicans living abroad."

His work extends to Hispanic youth, inspiring younger generations and working with children to ensure they become the next leaders. "We launched what we call the PLACE Program. Which stands for Pathways with Latinos to Advanced Career and Education."

 He has also worked to ensure Latinos had up-to-date COVID information.

 "We created the COVID 19 statewide work group. We also launched the COVID-19 action plan for farm workers and Latinos living in rural south Carolina, " he said. 

Dr. Delores Dacosta, executive director at S.C. Minority Affairs says Segura is more than a colleague, more than an advocate, he's a role model.

"His passion for helping people was the real driving force," said Dacosta. 

She went on to say, "This sends a strong message to Hispanics across the state, telling them we can do and accomplish anything we set our minds to do, here is someone who has given himself… here he is being honored for his community efforts."

Segura says his his proudest moment is helping his community. "The fact that I did it, that is my passion. That is what I tell people, if there is something you are passionate about to it."