Happy June everyone! School is out. Today is the first day of summer. But you know what we are celebrating in June???
We are celebrating Pride Month!!!
Pride Month is about standing with and beside our LGBTQ+ friends, family, co-workers and community members in celebration and recognition of them.
For those of you who don’t know how this all started, lets give you a little history.
Pride festivals and marches were all inspired as a way to commemorate the Stonewall Inn raid and subsequent riots of June, 1969.
Marches were coordinated at a grassroots level nationwide until a cultural shift occurred in the 80s, but it wasn’t until 2009 that June was officially declared Pride Month.
At The I See You Company, we believe that EVERYONE deserves to feel seen, be recognized and celebrated (AND you know I’m going to say with a wish too)!
In the spirit of celebrating Pride Month, we wanted to shine a light and share the story of someone who is using their platform for activism, inspiration and truth speaking.
It is our complete honor to introduce to you this exemplary human being, Julian J. Walker.
Julian is an actor, a poet, an author, speaker and activist. You may have seen him in the movie, Blackbird, and the BET hit, Being Mary Jane.
Julian also recently released a poetry book, A Year Without You. The talents of this man know no limits.
Enjoy learning a bit more about Julian in his own words.......
What does Pride Month mean to you?
To me pride means, living in your truth and take ownership of your individuality. It’s a moment to look back on the history of those that fought hard for the rights of the LGBT community. Not just a moment to be seen but feel seen, appreciated & loved.
How did you find your voice and the confidence to celebrate who you truly are?
I found my voice through my heart & my faith in knowing that I’m not a mistake - nor am I somehow, broken. In everything I do (acting, activism, speaking) I think about the little Julian’s out there who need a form of representation. The things I experience in life are much bigger than me, so if I can share just a piece of my truth, I believe it’ll make a difference.
What does it mean to truly be AND feel seen?
For me, to be seen means to be valued, appreciated, respected & shown right from wrong. When someone is able to see your potential and encourage you towards greatness - they see you! Seeing others is about wanting nothing more than to extend a piece of love not many are able to receive. In the midst of our day to day schedules having an extra hand and support, will help us up the mountain.
Who in your life has made you feel seen and supported you in your journey?
My family, friends & boyfriend are my safe spaces. Having their support along this journey means everything to me! I’m so thankful to have such a warm, loving, encouraging village behind me.
What has the journey been like to get to where you are today?
Life is an interesting story we live. We’re placed in many different situations but we often (or in my case) forget we have the pen to write our story. Meaning, even though we’re placed in a situation, we have the say so as to how we will react. Growing up, I struggled to be what others considered "normal" - I should talk this way, walk this way or play this sport to feel "seen" on a more masculine level. But deep inside, I knew that wasn't who I was placed on this earth to be.
Exploring my own definition of masculinity while believing a man can have emotions and be vulnerable became my new journey within my life. In 2015, during my last spring semester at The University of Southern Mississippi a friend of mine gifted me a journal. In this journal, I began to write each night until I couldn't write anymore. I allowed myself to get out all of the thoughts I held within for so long.
This journal became my poetry book, A Year Without You. The journey of self-love through heart break - broken into four chapters each termed after the four seasons of the year. Everyone's journey is different, but our stories consist of one similar ingredient - love. I believe my journey in life has brought me where I am because each day, I try to see people for who they truly are from within. Each day I have a mission to treat others with love, kindness, respect & understanding. I'm proud to say my poetry was a required read at The University of Southern Mississippi during the Spring 2019 semester. Talk about full circle moment.
What do you hope your book, A Year Without You, to become for your readers and fans?
I pray readers are able to feel the vulnerability I poured into those pages. I pray readers are able to see themselves within the stories & see the light within the tunnel. I pray readers are able to understand in the midst of our troubles it’s just a season of defeat. Those troubles will not last always. Believe and keep moving, you cannot give up.
Why do you feel that activism is important?
Activism allows me to give back to the community that loves and supports me, from those who look like me. I’m currently the Celebrity Ambassador for MOBI (Mobilizing Our Brothers Initiative), a community-based organization geared towards creating safe spaces of engagement queer & gay people of color. We have two main events we host during the year called 1.) MOBItalk (a three-part Tedtalk style series of events held in different borrows of NYC) and 2.) MOBIfest (a three-day event during pride month. We celebrated those in art, film, fashion, photography & writing).
Creating these spaces are important and allow attendees access to resources such as mental health seminars, testing services, community engagement & countless of other opportunities.
What would you say to someone struggling to feel seen and fearing to share their truth?
It’s all about community, having a tribe that truly sees your greatness. But look in the mirror to truly get to know who you are as a living being. We all have a light that is so bright and different from everyone else’s. There’s no need to dim the lights of others to the feel bright, when we possess different energy. You are you and that what makes you perfect.
My pastor, Renita Weems, once said, “In this journey of life we should want to simply be.” We should always be on a journey of becoming. Take a moment to think about the person your becoming.
If you could go back and tell 10-year Julian anything, what would you want him to know?
Love yourself more, look deep to find that validation from within. Stop relying on others to write your story. Pray & listen to that voice in your head more often. It won’t lead you astray. Lastly, it’s okay to not have the answers, it’s not to not be okay! Your sensitivity isn’t your weakness yet it’s you greatness gift.
What can we do better as a nation and people to support our LGBTQ+ friends, family members and employees?
Love. If we can do away with judgments, racism & hate the world would be such a wonderful safe place for all individuals like myself. Because we are talented, we are powerful, we are a gift & we WILL be seen.
Julian, WE SEE YOU!!
You are one of the sincerest souls we’ve ever met.
Your kindness knows no limits.
We are thankful for your willingness to share your story and be vulnerable in your truth.
We celebrate you for your genuine desire to give back, inspire and be a change maker!
Julian has chosen to use his platform to be a vessel of positivity and activism.
Simply put, Julian is truly captivating. Join us in celebrating this man!
To purchase Julian’s book, A Year Without You, go to his website at https://www.julianjwalker.com/. Don’t forget to follow him on Instagram and Twitter.
We hope you join your LGBTQ+ friends, family, co-workers and community members in celebrating Pride Month this June and don't forget to create an #iseeyoumoment with an I See You® Candle!