Welcome to the Evolving Man Project’s ‘Evolved Man of the Week’ profile. Each week, we highlight an individual who embodies what it means to be an evolved man, famous and non-famous men alike. The world needs to know their stories and deeds. This week’s honor goes to the activist, social worker, community organizer, educator, and revolutionary Ulysses Diaz.
Ulysses recalls a time from his childhood while visiting family in Mexico. Even at such a young age, Mr. Diaz was developing a robust socio-political consciousness.
“I remember when my family would go back to Mexico, my cousins and my family would listen to corridors, and that is when I was probably about eleven or twelve that I started noticing the different types of music and the emphasis on the drug cartels and the violence.”
Ulysses Diaz has been an activist for justice, human rights, and equality since his earliest days. He spent his time at Northern Illinois University as a campus activist, and to this day, he still serves his community. I had the pleasure of meeting and befriending Mr. Diaz during our time at NIU. He is a man of a sizable stature, big heart, and passion for all people’s true liberation. He is a man close to his indigenous roots and was the person who introduced me to the sacred space of the sweat lodge.
“We don’t own the earth we belong to it. We did not weave the web of life we are merely a strand in it, and whatever we do to it, we do to ourselves and others as we are all connected.”
Ulysses was born in Aurora, Illinois. He received a bachelor’s degree in sociology with a minor in Latino Studies from Northern Illinois University and a master’s degree in social work from the Jane Addams School of Social Work at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Throughout his career and life, Mr. Diaz has been a man of the people and used his influence to fight injustice. He is currently a bilingual counselor at Waubonsee Community College. Diaz served as an outreach coordinator at OMNI Youth Services agency before coming to Waubonsee. He provided life skills development and substance abuse treatment to youth and their families. He is a winner of the Peter J. Perez award from the Aurora Hispanic Heritage Advisory Board for his work with migrants and youth. Despite all his accomplishments and accolades, Mr. Diaz profoundly understands the value that people bring to each other’s lives:
“Friendship is a journey towards an unknown destination. The discovery that people must share not only what they don’t know about each other but what they don’t know about themselves.”
Mr. Diaz is a man of high integrity, passion, and inspiration. He is a teacher, scholar, activist, and modern-day warrior. I’m honored to call him a friend, and I’m a better man for knowing him. Today, we honor Ulysses Diaz has this week’s Evolved Man of the Week.