Jeremy Vasquez joins us for a special episode in Black History Month, discussing the power that uplifting and empowering our communities can have on creating real change for the future. There is a huge need within our communities for more understanding, more support, more involvement, and a sense of helping others. He speaks honestly about the struggles that he sees within our youth and our homeless population, and motivates us to confront our fears to become our best selves, and serve others to help more people within our cities to thrive.
Jeremy is an artist, author, activist, and educator living in San Francisco. He performs at community events, speaks at conferences and universities, and teaches youth to overcome systemic racism through through unconventional methods, such as music or chanting.
He also volunteers and regularly participates in community service projects. He founded the non-profit organization Vasileia, which strives to uplift and empower others by giving young artists in San Francisco a platform to use their unique voices and experiences to fight for social justice and change in their communities.
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- Jeremy has been a writer his whole life.
- When his father passed away, he didn’t feel connected to the death.
- It wasn’t resonating with him that this was really happening because his dad didn’t play an active role in his life.
- Someone at the funeral told Jeremy that his dad did want to be in his life, but he felt that Jeremy would have a better life if he wasn’t around and he didn’t want Jeremy to end up like him.
- Jeremy realized it was time to do something – he came to terms with what happened in his life, and dedicated his latest book to his dad.
- The book, Unshackled, helps people to understand the issues that affect communities of color.
The Big Issues
- Jeremy creates spaces where his community can curate art and help cultures to come together.
- He has seen the issue of homelessness really affect the community.
- San Francisco is beautiful, but behind the scenes there is suffering and hunger.
- There are a lot of people who can’t afford the lifestyle and live in tents because shelters are at capacity.
- The struggle creates desperation and people end up doing things that they don’t necessarily want to do, just to live.
- We have to remind others that we all stumble and we all make mistakes, a low point can turn your life around.
- Jeremy wrote his book to remind people that no matter where you’re at, you are not alone.
- When he works with students, he empowers them to overcome negative mindsets and limiting beliefs.
- He practices affirmations in his class to drill in the message that the students can create their own platform and their own path in life.
- The students now speak on what they were proud of – they talk about what they have been through and how the class has helped them to make better decisions now.
I’ve been groomed my whole life to be an activist, and to do something, so that years from now this world is better than when I came in. ([13:58])
As a people you have to decide to wake up and say, I want more, I won’t settle for less and there is no going back to who I used to be. ([12:49])
I call all of my students kings. On their first day of class I was like, you’re a king in my class, you’re a king in the hallways, you’re a king when you go home, no matter what you’ve been told or what you’ve been through, we’re changing that word that you use in the hallways, because we’ve been called these words, we only live up to what we respond to. ([40:14])
I have been way too blessed to not give back, and I feel that there is a special need for us as young people of color to be aware that we are someone’s superhero and when we do something, anything, we give others permission to do it, too. ([44:26])
There is no president who will make this world better, it is small acts of kindness that will make this world better, it is love. ([47:35])
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