Carlos Andres Gómez Addresses Identity and Belonging
Ahead of being the keynote speaker at the Cullen J. Davis Young Men of Color Symposium, spoken word poet and author Carlos Andrės Gómez spoke about inhabiting multiple identities at Morning Ex.
Gómez began by explaining his upbringing and how his family moved several times when he was a child. This constant motion led to Gómez often feeling left out as he was always new. He then shared a poem he titled, “Mi Gente” (“my people” in English) that contained both English and Spanish verses and reflected on the various portions of his identity.
This led to breaking down the concept of how people identify socially and personally and how people should not have to “prove” their identity and their existence. Gómez discussed how he is often questioned about his identity because of his name alone, and he expressed how he does not owe anyone that explanation as he knows how he identifies himself.
He then turned it to the audience to offer up stories of times when their own identity was questioned and how they handled the situation. Teachers and students shared their experiences of these microaggressions with the assembly. Gómez then explained how these situations are not usually discussed in these “town hall” formats, but it is important to have these conversations so everyone can learn.
Gómez ended with two more poems, including “Where Are You Really From?”, which explains an honest and genuine response to that invasive question that people ask when making assumptions about someone’s identity.
Gómez also led a leadership workshop for Fall and Winter Boys Teams hosted by the Athletics Department in the Harris Center. The workshop focused on leadership, team culture and positive motivation.
On Saturday, Gómez spoke to the 50+ participants at the 5th annual Young Men of Color Symposium. His keynote focused on his identity as a man of color, the messages he received about what it means to be a boy or a man when he was a child and how this shifted for him over time. He invited students to consider the messages they have received and encouraged the participants to explore what being a young man of color means to them.