Jonathan Cruz, a resilient soul hailing from the heart of the Bronx, NY, is not just an accomplished author but a beacon of inspiration. Raised in the Pelham Parkway Projects, he shared a modest one-bedroom apartment with his three siblings, acutely aware of the financial challenges his family faced. It was this awareness that ignited his unwavering determination to rise above his circumstances.
From the tender age of 14, Jonathan rolled up his sleeves, working off the books in grocery stores, furniture shops, and moving companies, all with one mission in mind – to put food on the family table, even if it meant sacrificing his teenage years. He’d labor tirelessly to earn a mere $25, just enough to tell his mother not to cook that evening and ensure there was food for everyone.
Amidst the distractions of the streets, Jonathan’s unyielding commitment to a brighter future for his family remained steadfast. He promised his mother that one day, he would provide her with a home free from the hardships she had endured for him and his siblings. Tragedy struck when he was eighteen, as he lost his beloved mother to cancer, thrusting him into a life-altering transition.
But Jonathan’s story doesn’t end with hardship; it transforms into a tale of triumph and resilience. He has not only carved a successful career in the medical science field, earning accolades like the 2022 Top Forty Medical Professionals under Forty Years Old and the 2023 Metro AALAS LATG award for his groundbreaking contributions to lab science. Now, a renowned author, he’s on a mission to bring the vivid experiences of his challenging childhood and remarkable journey into the medical profession to life through the written word, inviting readers to appreciate the indomitable spirit that propels him forward. Prepare to be captivated by his words, inspired by his journey, and moved by the resilience that defines Jonathan Cruz.
Hi, Great to have you with us today! Please introduce yourself and tell us about what it is that you do.
Greetings, I’m Jonathan Cruz, a man of many roles, each of which has shaped my journey in profound ways. By day, I proudly serve as the manager of a laboratory science facility, contributing to groundbreaking work in the field. But there’s more to me than my professional title. For years, I’ve been the owner and creative force behind Teach Peace NYC, a venture dedicated to crafting garments bearing uplifting messages. While the brand has had its time in the sun, my desire to inspire and impact others led me to explore a new avenue—writing.
I’ve come to believe that words possess an unparalleled power, enabling us to vividly convey the struggles, experiences, and lessons that define our lives. I’m not just a manager, a clothing brand owner, or an author; I’m a man on a mission to make my mother proud, honor my roots, and represent those who share the cultural tapestry that weaves through my life. So, in essence, I’m a storyteller, using the written word to touch hearts, transcend boundaries, and leave a lasting imprint of inspiration.
Can you please tell us about your journey?
My journey is a story interwoven with diverse phases, each shaping the person I’ve become. It began in a single-mother household, where I witnessed her relentless struggle to make ends meet, igniting a fire within me to rectify these circumstances.
High school introduced another phase, one where I felt the strong influence of my peers and the lure of the streets. But the most demanding chapter came after the loss of my mother. It was a time marked by deep depression, a transition away from the streets, and a profound sense of responsibility as I became a role model for my younger siblings.
The grind that followed was relentless, with twelve-hour workdays, juggling multiple jobs, and catching a 3 a.m. train while friends celebrated late into the night. Through it all, I remained committed to my vision, understanding that I bore a significant responsibility to break the chains of generational circumstances.
Though I occasionally strayed from the path, self-reflection always led me back to my core mission – leaving an indelible impact on the world and serving as a wellspring of inspiration for my family and those who share my background. For there are countless children who will traverse similar journeys, perhaps even more challenging ones. I hope they look at my achievements and find the motivation to strive for their dreams, believing that they can do the same and perhaps even more.
I adamantly refuse to let rappers and ball players be the sole representatives of our community; we all have unique stories, strengths, and the potential to inspire the world.
Please tell us about your book ‘Get Home Safe.’
‘Get Home Safe‘ isn’t your typical book. Co-authored by myself and my brother Christopher Rodriguez, a person I met only a few years ago, it’s a unique project born from the instant connection we felt during our first encounter. Our shared experiences, wisdom, and beliefs, despite our years of separation, inspired us to embark on this journey together.
The idea for this book emerged from a mutual desire to impart the wisdom we’ve both accumulated to our respective communities. ‘Get Home Safe‘ commences with dedication and pivotal life-changing moments that shed light on the rationale behind our collaboration.
The rest of the book consists of unattributed excerpts from both our perspectives, offering a treasure trove of wisdom, lessons, and experiences. We intentionally keep the authorship of each excerpt a mystery, encouraging readers to connect with the content rather than the writer they might personally know.
This deliberate approach aims to ignite self-reflection and internal dialogue on every page. Our aspiration is that within these pages, readers find not just value but a catalyst for personal growth. We hope to inspire each reader to become a better version of themselves.
What are the strategies that helped you become successful in your journey?
The strategies that have steered me toward success in my journey primarily revolve around unwavering commitment to my belief system and an enduring faith that, in the long run, everything will fall into place. Just like anyone else striving to avoid complacency, I’ve faced bouts of self-doubt. There have been moments when I questioned whether I should persevere or if my endeavors held any significance for others.
These periods of uncertainty can persist for hours, days, or even weeks, but one thing remains constant – I never give in. I’ve learned the importance of always lifting myself up and understanding that the gratifying sensation of conquering yet another obstacle is unparalleled. It’s a feeling like no other. I believe that if you aim to grasp that sense of fulfillment each time and become addicted to it, your potential becomes boundless. Success, in essence, becomes a perpetual journey rather than a finite destination.
Any message to our readers?
To our valued readers, I’d like to share a simple yet profound sentiment. If you happen to stumble upon any excerpt within our book that triggers self-reflection and contributes to your personal growth, then I consider my purpose in writing this book fulfilled.
It’s important to acknowledge that not everything written within these pages will resonate with every reader. Our aim, above all, is authenticity in our messages, hoping that you can recognize and appreciate the genuine intent behind our words. Your feedback is invaluable to us as we embark on the journey of creating more books in the future and exploring new ways to connect with our audience. Your thoughts and insights will shape our path forward, and we are sincerely grateful for them.
Fantastic! So tell us, how can people find your book?
Thank you so much, Jonathan, for giving us your precious time! We wish you all the best for your journey ahead!