In honor of Black History month, program director of Student Support Services (SSS), Calvin OneDeer, welcomed members, faculty, and students to hear the inspirational journey of speaker Richard L. Taylor Jr. on Feb. 24 in building MD 157.
SSS, the event sponsor, is a part of the TRIO program designed to help students from disadvantaged backgrounds. TRIO focuses on those that may be first- generation college students, students with lowee incomea, or registered with Palomar’s Disability Resource Center to help complete their academic goals.
“Feel that impact,” said OneDear in his welcoming, “this is a gift, and sometimes the best gift of all, is the presence. When you’re in the present moment and your time value is in the here and now then you appreciate every moment.”
Motivational speaker, author, and entrepreneur, Taylor took the stage asking that students allow him to “be real” as he shared his story and personal circumstances as a former TRIO student.
With majority of the building full, Taylor asked everyone to “take off the mask,” opening up the conversation to an intimate setting as he discussed how to “become the dream.”
Taylor’s story begins in the heart of Chicago, at Northern Illinois University as a student aspiring after a football career, an education, and purpose. After discovering he had an enlarged heart causing an irregular heartbeat, Taylor lost it all: his scholarship and desire to live.
Taylor spoke on depression, abuse, and multiple suicide attempts, encouraging SSS members that to struggle doesn’t always mean it’s the end.
“Something that I had to learn first hand, becoming the dream was something that I knew I would always walk into. But I didn’t know how I was going to walk into it,” Taylor said.
His message resonated with attendees as he empowered the audience with his fight for purpose, his experience as a black student, and his journey to discovering SSS in college.
“I was pretty inspired, it caught my attention about how life is a process. It’s a continued goal of learning experience,” said student SSS Tim Razo.
Emphasizing the importance of a support system, Taylor shared that he is not alone in his fight. “I think some of the stuff he said I went through so much,” said SSS member Glen Dyer on connecting with Taylor’s message, “maybe not physically but mentally.”
Guests were given copies of Taylor’s two books entitled “Unashamed: The Process of Reconstruction” and “Between the Dream.”
“Each chapter speaks on a particular problem I dealt with or struggled to overcome,” said Taylor about “Unashamed.”
Now currently in the process of writing his third book “Love Between My Scars” and speaking at schools nationwide, Taylor intends to move mountains with his words.
“We deal with ridicule, we deal with repercussion when it comes to sharing our stories, we deal with shame. Every layer you feel like is too much, those are the things that are supposed to be shared because they do come back to help and change somebody’s life. Closed mouths don’t get fed. But closed mouths can’t do feeding either.”