Cultural Identity and the Struggle to Belong: A Journey of Love, Trauma, and Acceptance

Through battling family and generational norms, cultural expectations, and societal pressures, Javier shares his experience of hiding his true identity to meet the expectations he felt from those around him. Javi was tormented and harassed which further reinforced the need to suppress who he really was. He turned to substances to cope and experienced layers of deep depression after a challenging heartbreak.

Eventually, after a much needed change in his surroundings, he found a peer mental health advocacy group and discovered Active Minds which slowly led him towards believing in himself — exactly as he was.  Javi’s presentation ensures that young adults from all walks of life understand that they matter, that they are deserving of a safe and accepting space, and that every intersection of their identities are worthy and beautiful.