By Imari Rede
The crowd was inspired as they were lead in a chant by latino author, Victor Villaseñor, “ I am a genius! I am fantastic! I kick ass! I can make a difference in my world and the larger world!”
Villaseñor spoke at Riverside City College’s Landis Auditorium on May 4. After his speech about harmony, genius, and his own lived experience.
“I feel inspired,” RCC student, Fredy Sedano said. “I read ‘Rain of Gold’ and it helped me define myself. Honestly I don’t think I’m a genius but I am very glad he (Villaseñor) came to our school.”
Victor Villaseñor shared personal stories that can be found in his books.
On his first day of school, as a small child, he knew no English but at the time there was rules against speaking Spanish.
“We couldn’t even speak Spanish on the playground… my friend told that supervisor something real nice,” Villaseñor said. “Then she (the supervisor) grabbed him by the hair and slapped him back and forth until he was bleeding, all for speaking Spanish,”
This had such an effect on him that he knew he had to change.
“Within a week I learned English,” Villaseñor said. “And within a week I learned to hate myself for being Mexican.”
He later became violent and started getting bad grades, which lead him to think that education wasn’t for him.
It wasn’t until 7th grade that Villaseñor was introduced to his own genius. He got his first three A’s from a substitute teacher after writing an essay called “The smartest human being I ever met: My brother’s dog”.
“I lost my fear of authority… I decided to kill my teacher,” Villaseñor said after being publicly ridiculed about receiving those good grades.
He did not actually kill his teacher but he decided to stop giving him the power to control his genius.
“People take advantage of you if they know you are fearful,” Villaseñor said. “ Fear is what causes all of the horrible things in this world.”
“Find your sixth sense. Your sixth sense is balance!” Victor Villaseñor is now a renowned author that encourages his audience to find balance in who they are and what they do.
“I’m a terrible writer, but I am a damn good rewriter. It took me forty times rewriting “Rain of Gold”. If you want to write, stop talking about it and actually write!” Villaseñor said to aspiring writers.
“I came to get more insight,” a Puente student, Alejandro Lara said. I’ve never had an experience like this. But I feel like I can relate to the book, and him even more now.”