Jeremy Michael Vasquez speaks self-love


Jeremy Michael Vasquez holds a signing for his book, "Unshackled" after the event. Photo Credit: KC Portee

Aleah Jarin, Staff Writer

Author, activist, educator, poet, and half black and half Hispanic, Jeremy Michael Vasquez spoke about the importance of self-love and reclaiming your identity May 2 at San Diego Mesa College.

Vasquez started off the evening by showing a video of young black boys, from his African American Achievement class in San Fransisco, having a conversation about how black boys are portrayed in America today. Vasquez shared that “[the age] 18 is a goal, [the age] 25 is extra credit” for many of these young black boys. This started the topic of identity and self-love.

To get those in attendance involved, Vasquez had audience members partner up with someone they did not know and repeat a series of questions to each other. Vasquez focused on three questions: “Who are you? “What do people think of you?” and “Who are you becoming?” This activity sparked tears among some, as it forced people to confront themselves and open up to a complete stranger.

One Mesa student, Carla Cazals, shared that “[this experience] helped me realize who I am, and that I should ask myself who I am daily.” Cazals also mentioned that the message of self-love is something more people should practice. “I feel like we should love ourselves more. We don’t even think about it, we’re always like, yeah love yourself, love yourself, but no one ever does anything about it” said Cazals.

Another Mesa student, Tyreek Simmons said that he decided to hear Vasquez speak because he “felt [he] could probably learn something.” Regarding what he thought about Vasquez, Simmons said “He’s clearly a guy that has a lot of experience, I honestly feel like he knows what he’s talking about. He definitely sympathizes with a whole lot of people, not just the minority.”

Vasquez performed a few spoken word poems relating to his background, how he came to be the person he is today, and how he struggled growing up being both Hispanic and African American.

Also in attendance were a few professors, some including Black Studies Professors Thekima Mayasa and Starla Lewis, who also participated in the activity and proved that even professionals can struggle with identity issues.

This event was an evening of healing and coming together to reveal, or figure out, one’s true identity.