Extraordinary stories from the most interesting artists, writers, athletes, and thinkers on the kaleidoscope of Muslim experience.

Season two of This Being Human is proudly presented in partnership with TVO.

MARK GONZALES

Season 2

EPISODE 6 - MARK GONZALES

Mark Gonzales is a futurist, but much of his work involves looking to the past. He believes the key to a better society is not just about the latest technology, but also about things like ancestral wisdom and sharing meals. The key to much of his approach is what he refers to as “empathy technology.”


Mark talks about what empathy technology is, how he overcame trauma in his own life, and why he remains hopeful about the future, despite some of the challenges society is currently facing.

ABDUL-REHMAN MALIK VOICEOVER:

Welcome to This Being Human...I’m your host Abdul Rehman-Malik. On this podcast from the Aga Khan Museum I talk to extraordinary people from all over the world whose life, ideas and art are shaped by Muslim culture. 


NADIR NAHDI:

There's a new generation that has a very unique to how they see themselves as young Muslims in the modern world. 


TANYA MUNEERA WILLIAMS:

I am this wide eyed girl. I'm like, I want it all, I want to experience it all.


GINELLA MASSA:

Everyone has a story. Sometimes you just have to ask and find out what it is.


ABDUL-REHMAN MALIK VOICEOVER:

Like the poem that inspires this podcast, The Guest House, by Sufi poet Jallaludin Rumi, we’re talking to people who seek meaning and joy in work and life…regardless of what the day brings us. Today, we look to the future.


MARK GONZALES: Maybe the trends are actually telling us things are going to get worse, but that is not set in stone. That is not prophecy per say. This is not a predestined outcome. This is a likelihood. And we know likelihoods, no matter how small the odds are, there are still odds that something can always be changed.


ABDUL-REHMAN MALIK VOICEOVER: We’re living through a moment of major uncertainty. It’s starting to feel like the end of the pandemic is in sight. The world has changed. So what comes next? A pessimist might have seen COVID-19 as only deepening the fissures in society on every level – economic, political and spiritual. An optimist might say we’re at a crucial turning point – a moment when we can re-evaluate our priorities and re-imagine society. Mark Gonzales is one of the optimists. Mark is a futurist. It’s a nebulous term, but think of him like a consultant who looks ahead to solve societal problems, almost before they happen.  He’s the chair of a company called the Department of the Future. His clients include the United Nations, Stanford University, and the city of L.A., where he lives part time, when he’s not in Tunisia. Mark’s version of futurism is not about Bitcoin and flying cars. It involves things like learning from ancestral wisdom, and sometimes just sitting around a dinner table with strangers, to unlock innovative solutions for a better world. His main tool is something he refers to as “empathy technology.”


MARK GONZALES: Our approach in empathy tech was to actually look at a different lens of empathy, which is we're less concerned about this idea of connecting with another's pain. We're more concerned with what are the mechanics with which human beings understand themselves. And as you walk through the world, you see others as a part of yourself. You know Thîch Nhát Hanh who recently passed, the great, brilliant philosopher and spiritual teacher of so many people would call intervening, you know, to understand people as a connected part of each other. In other traditions, there's an actual word for that connection and how you see it. In Islam, we would say Tawhid, you know which people would say is the oneness of God, but it's actually the understanding. It's the oneness of everything. You know, and then if the oneness, if everything is oneness, then we are all parts of the oneness. We are all parts of a great binary code. You know, that's interlinked and everything. And it's like, oh, when I see you, I'm seeing a part of myself, even if it's just a small shadow, a small percentage. Buddhism has that same tradition. Indigenous communities have that same tradition, and there's different words for it in different languages. In English, the closest word we have for that is empathy. Technology not being digital of a device or of a laptop is literally, etymologically and linguistically means the systemizing of a process. The printing press is technology. The dinner table. You know, was one of the original connection platforms, you know, through which strangers and likelihood people would gather around and be routed to one another through food. Storytelling, you know, is one of the original empathy technologies in which creating through narrative projections and characters ways in which people could see themselves inside another person. You know, you reading a book that you really loved, and all of a sudden, you're not just reading it, you're like, I am that person, I am the superhero. You know, I am the protagonist. Maybe I'm the antagonist, too, because you're like, That's me. That person doesn't even exist. You're just reading them. But all of a sudden you feel like, Oh, this is me, I feel kindred to that, you know? And so when we look at empathy technology in a time of global polarization, where the fissures in human society are increasing. How do we actually look at and say, Who am I? You know, and what are the building blocks of myself? And then what are the building blocks of you? And then how do I actually understand, even at one percent to five percent the way in which we're connected and then increase that? Empathy, as we look at it, is a worldview, and it is a worldview that sees everyone as a degree of self. Empathy technology is what increases or decreases that degree of self on the empathy index.


ABDUL-REHMAN MALIK VOICEOVER: Mark mentioned the power of the dinner table – and that’s one place where he has put his theories into practice. A few years ago, the city of Los Angeles was looking at ways to deal with growing polarization and racial divide in the city. They launched an initiative called embRACE LA to try to get citizens to care more about their neighbors. Mark and some others pitched something pretty simple: bring a bunch of strangers together for dinner to have guided yet intimate, and sometimes difficult conversations.


MARK GONZALES: In the US one out of every five meals is eaten alone by someone in a car. We are a very isolated society, even before we layer race, gender, class on top of it. So, can we utilize good food and a dinner table as a way to invite people out of isolation and fragmentation into a warm and welcoming space? Can we also, though, train residents in difficult dialogue methodologies – what we understand about in-group out-group dynamics, about, you know, the art of conversation, to serve as an anchor to make sure that A) that the table is both a safe space and a bold space. And it's a place everyone is welcome, but we're not just here to have shallow conversations. We're also not going to allow the deeper conversations to go off the rails and turn into interpersonal attacks. And from that anchoring, can we talk about A) how we came to this city because we're all in the city? B) Can we talk about what we love about this city? C) Can we talk about how this city has hurt us? And now let's actually talk about now how race shapes our love and our pain. So everyone has a place in the conversation to share their experience. And now we're here to talk about a unique part of that experience. So we can now look at it about what we commit to, to make this city that it could be. 


ABDUL-REHMAN MALIK: Mark, you sat in on some of these dinners. And I want you to take us right to the dinner table. I want you to look around that dinner table, who was sitting there? And is there a moment in one of these interactions, an anecdote, a story, a moment of connection that stays with you? That in a way, brings it alive for us?


MARK GONZALES: Absolutely. Angelinos, we had stories of how so many people love that city across identities, even people who were experiencing the worst living conditions, people who had come to the city who, you know, don't have documented status, who were living within sanctuary homes out of fear of being taken from the place that they've only known as home for the last 20 years. Just talking about how much they love their home. You know, and then you got into the ways in which policy, bad neighborhood and different forms of mental mindsets that lead to supremacy and racism, the way in which they were harmed. And that was the hard part, which is when you just hear and you see in it from a person like, look, like my own neighbors called the police on my son. Not out of any malice or anything, but because of the doorbell systems that show a camera, and if you see someone strange in the neighborhood that you don't recognize that, you know, you can set an alert for the other neighborhoods. And you know, one mother sharing, you know, literally like my son, my beautiful black son who they all grew up with. They're like, there's this strange man walking around. I'm like, You know my son. I mean for people to get real. Beyond that, I didn't mean anything wasn't my part to be real about like, listen. You can have a moment in your mindset. But here's the potential ripple effects of that moment. Okay, that goes now that gets turned into a police report. Police report then turns into prepping a person who has been trained to look at the world through the lens of threat. And this is how an individual moment becomes a system and a statistic which is then lived as an experience as an individual moment for many more years to come if it ends tragically. 


ABDUL-REHMAN MALIK: I love the idea of empowering residents, right, in the tools of doing this. That is not some outsider coming in, and I'm going to facilitate a conversation for you, but it's going to emerge, right? From people gathering around this ancient technology, as you put it, of the dinner table. Look at each other, share the same food. And that's a powerful idea, Mark. And it really resonates, you know, in my heart. And then the cynic journalist gets in the way of that, you know, and something in my ear says, okay, look, we know from the last few years from the time of the pandemic, society is divided in all kinds of ways, and it's getting worse. We can all be polite, but can we even agree on some basic facts and science? And so the question that I'm sure you've been challenged with many times is can a conversation around the dinner table fix that? 


MARK GONZALES: No, it cannot. I mean, a core part for me, when we were building embRACE LA, was the premise that you cannot legislate the human heart. You cannot govern emotion. You can create environments that will try to, you know, push it in a certain space. But if we are going to be successful that a long term approach in a system’s redesign of who we are as individuals and individuals interconnected at a scale, then we have to deal with the heart and the mindset. Now, because we were working with the City Council, though, was as you're dealing with this authentic conversation, we do know that any solution that can be proposed to any challenge will only be as effective as the data that it's pulling from. So if we are getting real nitty gritty conversations, we are able to actually then look at what are the trends coming up in the conversations, of common pain points. And when we talk about the city, we could be and what we would commit to. Now we also have trends in data about what could be an effective solution, implementation or what residents are asking for in a policy change. Now, because you're working with the City Council, you can now present that to a council of: we did this conversation. We did 100 dinner tables in four days, specially designed ones held in the prisons in Skid Row and reentry communities, to fold in the parts of the individuals we often do not recognize as part of the city as well. To say this is who the city is not working for. And with that is how you begin iterating. You begin moving from a static of this is the way it's always been. We're always not going to be in this condition, or trying to go zero to 100 to utopia. Oh, this is just what we need for everyone to be, you know, amazingly good to one another. We are humans. You know, we are complex creatures. Why do we not understand that we are going to need complex roadmaps and complex solutions that lead us forward? 


ABDUL-REHMAN MALIK VOICEOVER: Mark is by nature pretty well-positioned for cross-cultural dialogue. He lives at the intersection of many identities. His heritage is Indigenous, Mexican and French Canadian. He has a family with his Tunisian partner, he has embraced Islam, and he splits his time between the US and Africa. And yet he grew up in a tiny town in Alaska – where his father, born in Mexico, had followed one of his uncles for work. And a warning for listeners: there is some discussion about suicide and self-harm coming up.


MARK GONZALES: It was a really unique experience. My family members and I talk about this in terms of just sometimes the sheer uniqueness and almost audacity of some of the things that we lived through. We used to have a rule for basketball as a school. Mind you, our school, my high school, was thirty two people. My graduating class was eight people. You know, when you're in most coffee shops anywhere in the world, there's more people than was in my graduating class. You know, the village we were in had 400 people, and then we lived in the trailer court outside the village. So going to the 400 people, that was going to town, you know? Going to the city was going to Fairbanks, which was 40,000 people because it had a movie theater and a McDonald's and a grocery store because we didn't have a grocery store. We had three bars, but no grocery stores. So you had to drive 80 miles to go get groceries. The rule we had in basketball was if it was below 50 below zero Fahrenheit, we weren't allowed to travel to the next village to play because of fear that the engine might freeze. We had the things that people always kind of laugh about, which is the fact when you park your car, you have to plug it in. And I'm not talking electric plug in, I'm talking you plug it in to a heater to keep your engine block from freezing, you know, and you have your summers, which is literally like in the movies of 23 to 24 hours of sunlight. You know, there's a couple of days, no matter where you're at in the state, the Sun doesn't set. It's 11 p.m. The sun's still up kind of just, you know, gets close to the horizon and goes right back up. Dating pool was very limited. You're in a state twice the size of Texas, and there are 500,000 people in it, you know, so you're spread out all across all that area. So it was quite an interesting thing. You know, you'd open your doors sometimes and you're like, Oh, there is a bear outside. Let me close the door, wait for it to go before I go, visit my cousins or something else. 


ABDUL-REHMAN MALIK: You paint an incredible picture for us. But I think underneath those stories is also the sense of struggle, isn't it? And you know, you've talked very openly, Mark — and in fact, I'd heard you perform some incredible poetry and words – and one of the things that struck me about your words back then and the way in which you've talked about yourself on social media and elsewhere is that you, you pretty honestly lay out some of the really painful and traumatic experiences that you've been through and you weathered. I wonder if you could talk a little bit more about your mom. And the relationship with your mom and what happened. 


MARK GONZALES: So my mother, Janice Sylvie, was born in 1945 in Yakima, Washington. Wondrous person with a giving heart,  but who battled her whole life with chemical imbalance, clinical depression, occasional schizophrenia and what comes with schizophrenia is small hallucinations that can then, depending upon the degree of it, lead to larger parts of hallucinations. When you couple that with the other reality of being in Alaska, when I talk about 500,000 people in a state twice the size of Texas, you're talking about extended periods of isolation. When we talk and joke about the 50 below zero, you're talking about a lot of times inside without any sunlight, and we know sunlight is being an essential part of emotional vitamins that are necessary just for a healthy way of being. You know, when I talk about no grocery store, but three bars you're talking about the way in which people are coping with the darkness and the isolation by creating a meeting point through a bottle. Now you add all of that in and you don't have the most healthy garden, if you will, for the best parts of human emotion and human experience. There are ways in which we are saddened or depressed because of the social conditions in which we live in, or because of the environment in which we're subjected to. And that's a natural, healthy human response to an unhealthy environment. Chemical imbalance on mental health is different. Chemical imbalance is, I can change the environment, but there is something in the way in which my brain is functioning or my internal ecosystem that is not in alignment with itself. And that then leads to certain things going off the rails, if you will. And so mom's off-the-rails was dealing with clinical depression and suicidal thoughts. And she had ended up attempting to take her life once unsuccessfully. And then a second time taking her life. I was 14 at the time, it was 1989, and it changed my world. You know, it changed the world like it would change anyone's world. The death of a parent at any age. You know, we know it's hard. Watching our elders, those who held us, those we love watching them grow old is a loving experience. But it's also a reminder of the mortality and a feeling of like, oh, you're going to transition soon. And I don't want that to happen because I love you so much. Now, when that happens prematurely and that happens prematurely at a very young age, then that compounds that pain and that feeling, you know, it actually creates an environment where you're like, Well, why do I want to be here? If this is existence, I don't want it. This sucks, you know, and you try to deal with it and you try to deal with it with the way in which most people try to deal with it, which is not deal with it because you don't have the tools, you know, because we're not taught the tools. And I don't even know if you could ever fully be taught the tools for dealing with something like that, but you go through it. And for me, after several years, four or five years of kind of just being like, this sucks, ya know, and keeping it inside and just being like, whatever. After about five years, it was around 19 starting college, and I was like, You know what? I was like this huge Grand Canyon-sized hole in my heart is still here. So maybe avoiding this isn't actually going to resolve this, because it's been five years, and I really don't want to live several more decades in this way. So it's like, OK, well what...What could be medicine, if you will? What could actually begin helping me mend and heal that? And so, you know, began having conversations with friends. We're kind of talking mid-90's, growth of hip hop, growth of culture, kind of performance, poetry storytelling starting to take off. And at the core of all these artistic expressions in genres are human beings expressing either fantasy or lived experience. And when you create spaces for people to do that authentically and openly, you begin to find that a community begins weaving itself, you know, and it weaves itself, you know, ideally out of a space of mutual respect and mutual inquiry. And that inquiry being like, who are you? And what makes you you? You know, and for me, it was like, who are you? What makes you you? What have you gone through and what wisdom do you have that's helped you heal? Or, you know, endure and transform through what you've gone through? Because maybe I could use some of it. And maybe I have something eventually over time being like, maybe I have something even to offer to that conversation. And then traveling the world, you know, through storytelling and innovation, beginning to pull more and more of that and being like, Oh, wow, we're all dealing with this. You began to realize that so much of our silence and shame comes from these feelings of being abnormal. You know, from, oh, it's me, I did something wrong. When you begin to actually look at the data and say there's millions and tens of millions of people experiencing something similar, you know, to the point where that they would not want to even live another day on this Earth. Then you begin to realize maybe it's not the individual and maybe it's not the person. And you can actually from that space and that base say, okay, then what is creating this condition? And going back to the futurist realm, it's not to just diagnose what is wrong. It's actually saying, okay, now that we've diagnosed what is making us unhealthy and unhappy, then what actually makes us feel healthy, happy and whole? And how do we then begin to create the environment and conditions for that at scale? A systems redesign, if you will.


ABDUL-REHMAN MALIK VOICEOVER: Mark holds an optimistic point of view even in the most difficult times, imagining that a better future is not only possible, it might even be our human default setting.  


MARK GONZALES: I am a professional nerd. And you cannot be a nerd of human existence and not be hopeful. You cannot look at the granular details and mechanics of what civilizations have gone through, what we have done to each other, what we have even now done to ourselves in terms of self harms for multiple reasons, not to put any blame or shame on any individual. But the mere fact that we are a species that is approaching seven billion, moving towards nine billion population...and look at where we were 50,000 years ago, 100,000 years ago, 150,000 years ago when Homo sapiens are emerging and just saying all odds were against us, and all odds have continually been against us, you know, we should have been extinct a long time ago and maybe that's part of the human condition is to flirt with our extinction. But that is one of the things if you just get into the nitty gritty and the details and you look in the mirror and say, I am a living human being and I'm looking at myself in this moment and my existence is a testament that the odds are in my favor. Even though the apocalyptic narratives that I'm surrounded with tell me otherwise. And so that keeps me hopeful.


ABDUL-REHMAN MALIK: There's a spiritual journey that you've been on. And I know it's led you to many places, it's actually physically led you to many, many places. What drew you to Islam? And was there a moment that you kind of knew: hey, I'm Muslim.


MARK GONZALES: Years ago, there were some podcasts that opened up their first interview question, so when did you become Muslim? And my response to them was...I don't know how to answer that question, because becoming Muslim means I've arrived and I was like, I still don't know if I'm doing this thing right. Because to me, being Muslim isn't about joining, quote, a specific village or a new box. My entering into Islam had to deal with studying spiritual traditions, religion, and the questions of why are we here? Not finding it on the way I wanted to in the tradition I was raised, you know, Catholic and Roman Catholic, exploring different traditions and saying, What do you believe comes, you know, at the end of this existence and is the end of this existence the end of all existence? You know, is it? If not, then what comes next? What governs the rules of what comes next and trying to explore that. I think, you know, partially, you know, like anyone, it's like you when you're faced with death at a young age and makes you open up your mind a different space of like, Oh yeah, this is all a temporary moment. You know, so then where is my compass, you know, and my manual, you know, to help me navigate this temporary to wherever I'm going next. Islam for me was introduced in the mid 2000's through wondrous communities, was part of in Los Angeles, and a key part of it was not. And what the ways in which people often think about coming to a tradition which is like, OK, Dawah, you know or, OK, we're going to go to know on someone's door. 


ABDUL-REHMAN MALIK: So someone called you, so what did the missionary work? Someone gave you the good word. 


MARK GONZALES: Yeah, someone...someone gave you that pamphlet of like, why? You know, this revelation is true, you know, and because of the Arabic word for this, it proves that this was understood 1200 years ago and that's true. No, that's not how I entered into this journey at all. I entered through creative conversations with people who were also dealing with wounds and healings in the middle of the US invasion of Afghanistan and the war in Iraq, with the increase in the Bush administration and the creation of ICE and deportation of communities. The lead up to the Great Recession and the huge layoffs that happened and people facing economic calamity and being in your early and late 20s during that time. And for me, then approaching 30s, having a community that was just asking questions about, again, what do you believe? There's a lot going on, this is heavy, like, what's your medicine and what's keeping you grounded in this moment? What's keeping you going? And us just being open with one another and doing a lot of readings, I just share like the things that I naturally would begin to feel. And I'm a firm believer that if there are signs continually saying this way, this way, this way, this way, this way, you know, not seeing one or two, I'm not one of those people. It's meant to be here. But if something is continually flashing, hey, there's wisdom here. There is something to learn here. And then you choose not to go that way, then that means A) either you're not ready or you're not comfortable with that part of you yet. And so for me, that's what the journey with Islam began, which was and eventually saying, okay, I don't know where this road is going to lead, but I do know that the signposts have been waving at me for a while and not something of that. I'm trying to say, okay, yes, this is true now, but something that's aligned with what I'm feeling naturally drawn towards. 


ABDUL-REHMAN MALIK VOICEOVER: Lately, Mark has embarked on a new project, a physical space in the bustling heart of the ancient city of Sousse, in Tunisia. It’s a place that embodies many of his philosophies. He calls it The New Medina, an 8-thousand square foot community hub with a culinary lab, at least 8 guest rooms, and a space for innovation and entrepreneurship. But most importantly, it’s a multigenerational home for his own family, with a big table for sharing meals. It’s also a place of hope, something that Mark has always maintained.


MARK GONZALES: We are in a neighborhood that my wife's mother was born in and my wife's grandmother was born in that we now live in and that our children live in. And so it is one of the things that just even center there are four generations of women in that space at any given time. And I think that is a powerful beginning to say what we are doing. It is to look at generational lineage and to lean into that in order to build forward for the sakes of our little ones. My oldest daughter is seven and a half. She has three passports, speaks Arabic, French, English and is learning Mandarin. My three and a half year old is fluent in Arabic, French and English, far beyond my levels, at least in two of those languages, also has three passports and has an amazing life and light and global love. To raise them in this city that their grandmother and their great grandmother is in – And I say that not we're from, but are in – I think it's important when we just break it down to a very simple level as we are raising the children in the environment of the things that made core parts of them. And we're giving them access to that on a daily level when we go visit EL GeM, which is one of the most complete amphitheaters from the Roman area in the world. Or Carthage. And they're sitting there among these thousand year old buildings that we sit in awe of today, like how the hell did they build this? You know, and they walk through the catacombs, you know, which are kilometers of underground tunnels, you know, with like, four meters ceilings that stretch for fifteen to twenty five kilometers in a direction. And you're like, we can't even build a subway system in our modern era in most cities like, you know, oh, it's too difficult, et cetera. And they're walking around these things. So we ask them, we're like, Who built this? And they're like, Oh, the ancestors? No, we are raising our daughters to know who they are. And I think it's one of the things that came out of we had already been a global family traveling. We do look at the world from multiple spaces of home. We are in Tunisia, you know, started off from very much in entrepreneurship and innovation contribution and grew into something very, very much more. But even prior to COVID, and especially since COVID, the world is asking, what are the things that matter to me on a daily basis? I am not promised 10, 20, 30 years from now. What are the things I want to spend in the 365 days that may make up this year because I don't know if I get another one. The quality of life question. And I think that that's a beautiful thing for me, for our girls, is that our girls are very much having a childhood that they enjoy.


ABDUL-REHMAN MALIK: Mark, who or what would you like to welcome into your guest house? 


MARK GONZALES: I want to welcome peace. And I don't mean this buzzword, reduced of all meaning, we all need to be at peace with one another. But what it means to be in a complete space of just calm acceptance. And the joy of that is a way of being the joy that is not a finite emotion. That's what I want to see come in these years to come, is I do want to get there. I do want to get to that space. 


ABDUL-REHMAN MALIK: Thank you for being with me, Mark, on This Being Human.


MARK GONZALES: Was a pleasure brethren.


ABDUL-REHMAN MALIK VOICEOVER: Thanks for listening to This Being Human. You can find more resources related to this conversation by clicking on the link in the show notes. This Being Human is produced by Antica in partnership with TVO. Our Senior Producer is Kevin Sexton, with production assistance from Abhi Raheja. Our Executive Producer is Lisa Gabriele. This episode was mixed by Kevin Jung. Original music by Boombox Sound. Stuart Coxe is the president of Antica Productions. Katie O’Connor is TVO’s senior producer of podcasts. Laurie Few is the executive for digital at TVO. This Being Human is generously supported by the Aga Khan Museum, one of the world’s leading institutions that explores the artistic, intellectual and scientific heritage of Muslim civilizations around the world. For more information about the Museum go to www.agakhanmuseum.org. The Museum wishes to thank Nadir and Shabin Mohamed for their philanthropic support to develop and produce This Being Human.

Mark Gonzales is a futurist, but much of his work involves looking to the past. He believes the key to a better society is not just about the latest technology, but also about things like ancestral wisdom and sharing meals. The key to much of his approach is what he refers to as “empathy technology.”


Mark talks about what empathy technology is, how he overcame trauma in his own life, and why he remains hopeful about the future, despite some of the challenges society is currently facing. 


In this episode, Mark talks about: 

  • The power and importance of “empathy technology”
  • How the dining table can serve as a safe space for diverse and socially crucial conversations
  • Why developing meaningful social relationships is dependent on gathering data 
  • The impact and challenges of growing up in a small Alaskan village 
  • His mother’s struggles with mental health 
  • Learning to cope with parental loss 
  • How spaces for artistic expression can help to weave new communities 
  • The negative societal impact of feeling abnormal, what causes it, and how to deal with it 
  • How he stays optimistic about humanity’s future even in times of great doubt 
  • How and why he was drawn to Islam 
  • Learning to trust his intuition throughout his journey with Islam 
  • Why he chose to develop The New Medina project and raise his children in the ancient city of Sousse, Tunisia


Quotes:


“You cannot legislate the human heart. You cannot govern emotion.” – Mark Gonzales, 12:04


“We are humans, you know? We are complex creatures. Why do we not understand that we are going to need complex roadmaps and complex solutions that lead us forward?” – Mark Gonzales, 14:01


“I am a professional nerd. And you cannot be a nerd of human existence and not be hopeful.” – Mark Gonzales, 24:41


To learn more about this conversation, AR recommends:

  • Website for the Department of the Future: https://www.deptofthefuture.com/  
  • Wage Beauty: https://www.wagebeauty.com/  
  • embRACE LA: https://www.embracela.org/aboutus#:~:text=embRACE%20LA%20is%20a%20bold,conversations%20about%20race%20and%20racism. 
  • Mark Gonzales on “Knowing You Belong”: https://www.hopkins.edu/news-detail?pk=1213900 
  • The New Medina: https://www.thenewmedina.com/ 
  • Mark’s book Yo Soy Muslim: A Father’s Letter to His Daughter:  https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Yo-Soy-Muslim/Mark-Gonzales/9781481489362 
  • Mark’s Bio: https://www.wagebeauty.com/markgonzales 
  • Mark’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/markgonzalesco?lang=en