When Fermin was six years old, and in the midst of a catastrophic Civil War in El Salvador, his mother made an excruciating decision. Shedding tears, she left young Fermin in El Salvador and embarked on a journey to the United States. She was searching for peace, a better life, new opportunities and a renewed sense of hope for her family.
Fermin did not come here with the right papers he was raised with the right values. His mother taught him the importance of hard work, sacrifice, and commitment to one’s community. Through many sleepless nights, and insisting on his mother’s dream Fermin received a scholarship to major in Political Science at CSULA. Now after graduating in 2010 Fermin has become a passionate activist who believes that we can do great things when we work together. His perseverance was inspired by the hard work and sacrifices his mother was making by working two jobs cleaning houses for rich people and cleaning rooms at a hotel in Santa Monica.
A sense of personal responsibility and a belief that our lives are connected led Fermin to become a passionate community leader and organizer. “My story is not about me, it is the story of America. It is a story of sacrifice, and hope to keep going despite the obstacles.” He help found and later became President of a dynamic student led immigrant rights organization, Students United to Reach Goals in Education (SURGE). But it was in the campaign Dreams Across America Tour, a nationwide journey via train where he learned the power of storytelling and strategic communication. He realized the power of sharing his story as a powerful tool to initiate a rational conversation that addition to being a land of opportunity; America is also a land of compassion, a compassion that must be translated in the passage of human immigration reform.
After his experiences with Dreams Across America, he found a new life goal: to redefine political activism by sharing people’s stories, framing, messaging, strategic communications, and promoting a world view rooted in ideals of justice, freedom, equality and the values of hard work, empathy, shared responsibility, faith and courage.
Beyond his personal experiences as a source of knowledge, Fermin Vasquez is an avid reader of texts on the topic of effective communications and social change. He has cautiously studied texts from the Rockbridge Institute and cognitive scientist and Linguist, George Lakoff, Harvard professor and Public Narrative guru Marshall Ganz, media consultant Dr. Frank Luntz, and historic American community organizer and writer, Saul Alinsky. Although he has gained legal residency in this country, Fermin Vasquez vehemently continues exercising his social responsibility in the way he knows best—using his words as his sword.