Video Testimonials

December 20, 2023

Video Testimonials for The Artivist and Poet, Venus Love Jones

Video Transcript

Speaker: Dr. Gerald Myer, LCSW

Please share how you first met the artivist, Venus Jones. Which poem, collection, or event had the most impact on you?

Perry Rhue: My name is Perry Rhue. I was warmly introduced to Venus in August 2020 by an executive coaching colleague of mine. It was several months later that year, I invited Venus to join my very first virtual international summit for leadership development coaches on the topic of inclusion, healing and belonging. My alternative response to diversity, equity and inclusion, also known as DEI at the end of our three week summit, Venus gifted all 28 of us with a poem titled "Is their courage in the coach?" And what was most impactful about her poem was it was written on the spot, and brilliantly captured how she experienced our summit, as well as others, and the spirit of our vision toward healing the human race from racism and related social constructs and her call to action to be the change we want to see in the world. I am always always grateful for Venus for who she is as a person of power, an artist, and a social change agent. I have experienced Venus as a poet, an inspiring coach who challenges the mind that produces critical thinking and action. Now, Venus's why is well manifested in her advocacy for social equity. Her examples of influencing social change and the way she lives out her passion and calling through her life experiences and the arts. I strongly strongly encourage you to reach out to Venus if you want to learn how to become an influential social change agent, and an activist through the arts.

So what's your name? My name is Mauricio Mejia Silicon Valley entrepreneur here. And you know, I got invited to the, to the luncheon today by a good friend and mentor of mine, Mark Lazzarini, who is the longest standing board member of this organization. And what I was just sharing with you earlier is that I came in here and what you shared with the community was it has no barriers. It can hit anyone from the highest, the highest point of economic success to the lowest point. It doesn't matter because we're all going through storms. You know what I said to you earlier was I myself am going through one of my own storms. And yet would you help do just through your affirmation, through your words of encouragement and just, just your words of just love and going back to the real root is to love ourselves and just the fact of holding your own heart and feeling your own beats. Um It is, yeah, that, that, that is, that is so, and I share with you one of my best mentors, best friends, business partner, Stedman Graham. And he says to me, one of his quotes are, is you can't lead others until you learn how to lead yourself. But before you go to that, it goes to the core base which is love. You can't learn to love others if you can't learn to love yourself first. So you're gonna make me cry. No, I know. Right. Because it's real. I'm so happy that you share this with me and that's why I wanted to get you on camera because you got me crying and I'm like, wow, like, hey, we're everyone's gonna be like, what's going on over there anyway. I just, I just want to say that, you know, again, we all come from a place of love and you know, even though I don't know you, I'm going to give love to you and for you to continue to give love to others

Dr. Gerald Myer: My name is Doctor Gerald Myers. I'm a licensed clinical social worker practicing in Syracuse New York. Some years ago, I downloaded the Kwanza app, that Stephen and Venus produced, in an effort, I guess to, you know, find something for my family to do something to engage my grandchildren in. But I really, I really didn't uh use it that much. Um, although I did value it years later, while I was working, uh on my doctorate, I came across an article, uh I believe it was published in 2010, uh by Doctor Samuel Amer. Uh doctor A, wrote a piece called Clinical Practice with African American Men, what to consider and what to do. And in that piece, he discussed, uh the elements of Kwanzaa and how it could be used in a therapeutic way when working with African American men. This reminded me of the app. Um So I started using the app again and after many years of intending to, uh write my thanks to Stephen and Venus, I finally did. Um, and they graciously responded. Um But so you, you know, I really value that work. Uh, the affirmations that Venus has, has done uh for each day the pronunciation of the words. Uh Kugichagulia I finally get? Um, and so, uh this app is a gift. Um There is a spiritual connectedness, I believe that is therapeutic and I use it in my self care and, uh with my clients, uh who enjoy working with it and with the resurgence in Afrocentric therapeutic methods, I have no doubt Um, that, well, I know I'm going to, have everybody, download this app and learn about it, uh, and, and find ways to further deepen ourselves and practice, uh, the elements of Kwanzaa, not only during that season, but every day. Thank you, Stephen. Thank you, Venus.

Tonya McQuade: Hi, my name is Tonya McQuade. I'm an English teacher at Los Gatos High School. And I'm our Department Chair. I first met Venus about six years ago when I saw her speak at a Mosaic event at the Saratoga library. And I was so impressed by her poems and by her presentation that I invited her to be a speaker at our high school. And so she came and gave a presentation at one of our tutorial talks where she shared some of her poetry, the students loved it. And so we ended up inviting her back. And so I think my most memorable experience with Venus is when she came to do her Kwanzaa presentation, she also brought along a friend of hers who played the drums. She involved a lot of the students as part of the presentation. She had them up on stage with her. Some of them even got to do some drumming, which they thought was wonderful. And she taught them about Kwanzaa. She explained the various uh rituals that were part of it, the teachings that were part of it. She made it something that was very interesting for them, helped them to understand something that they didn't really know much about before. Um, she got them involved in marching and carrying flags and, and lots of different things. And then afterwards she ended up coming up to my classroom. And so my third period students thought they were the luckiest students on campus that day because, uh, the rest of the students only got to see her at tutorial. But she came up and she shared a couple more poems in the class and she had her friend come with the drums. And so it was a very special day. We've continued to be friends since then. We've gone to lots of poetry events. We've had her back again at our school to present some of her poems. And I'm excited about the possibility of bringing her to share her new film project as well. So, um I definitely recommend any of the projects that she's working on as something that if you're looking at uh an opportunity to bring her as a speaker to your cla uh classroom or to your school. I think she's great. So, um I hope that you will give her some consideration. Thanks.

Qiana Houston: Hi, my name is Qiana Houston. I'm a sociology instructor here at Mission College and we just attended Ms. Venus Jones's "The Power of the Pen." She's very inviting. She was very moving. I myself had tears and I almost didn't want my students to see me that way. But I think it's important to note that there's a power in how she speaks. There's an encouragement in her invitation to watch her and to join her and just to empower us to know that we are all advocates in different ways.

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