Jonathan Diaz


“What’s one of your favorite things about yourself?”

“I take pride in storytelling. I see myself as a collector of stories. I try and find the beauty in people’s narratives and essentially carry them with me. I’m a spoken word poet so I try to articulate the stories that are personal to me and others through that medium. I also work in data, which I see as storytelling. The ability to listen and empathize, and not necessarily pinpoint points of relatability, but just foster that space for people to bring their whole selves and be who they are.”

“Sounds like we have a lot in common. What do you think the root of that way of being is? Have you always been this way?”

“As time progressed I started thinking about power and privilege a lot and the opportunities I’ve been afforded as compared to the people I was brought up with, as well as my immediate family. I’m a first generation college student and I progressed through that series of educational opportunities onto graduate school, and onto working full time. Along the way I’ve reflected on my personal story and motivation and I began to realize often times in these environments you never have the opportunity to hear people’s story. You’re working towards a common goal, but you don’t hear about why they’re doing the work they do. I think there’s an opportunity to make really deep genuine connections once you start teasing out people’s stories.”

jonathan-2“What made you think more about your privilege?”

“Well I was raised urban poor, my father abandoned my family when I was 17. We feel into a series of seeking shelter and homelessness right before I sought to begin my undergraduate career. While there I realized I was ill prepared to take on engineering. I was able to complete the undergraduate career and continue to gain access to these spaces even though I was often times the only person of color. As a person of color, as a latino, I’ve struggled with my privilege. My stepfather is black, my mom is five shades darker than I am. A lot of people don’t get to come here to Hive and meet with all these people to have these types of conversations. This is wonderful but I want to remember the people who don’t have the opportunity to experience this.”

jonathan-4“Do you keep in touch with your biological father at all?”

“Uh…no. I do not man. I use it as motivation and fuel…as narcissistic as that sounds. It’s not a matter of holding a grudge or resentment…I don’t know what it is. I’ve struggled with his alcoholism for some time. I drank for the first time last year at the age of 24. I felt like I was in a good space, I felt like I was comfortable with myself, I felt like I was in control. I used to blame alcohol as being the cause of so many things, but now I’m starting to process and look at the root causes of what led him to leave and lead this alternate life outside of our family.”

“I get it. My parents separated when I was young too and I don’t keep in touch with my dad. Those are good questions though because it’s not about the alcohol, it’s about what drove him to use the alcohol as a coping mechanism.”

“Yeah, that’s exactly it.”

“We’re all healing ya know. So moving on to your dream, do you know what you want to create in the world?”

“I think it’s creating inclusive access and promoting and leveraging collective intelligence.”

“Thank you so much.”

“You’re welcome. Thank you.”

From the Nov. 2016 Hive GLP – Learn more at


November 23, 2016