KCLS Livestream: Author Voices with Jesse Leon

Join King County Library for their virtual Author Voices series.


Join a conversation with Jesse Leon, social impact consultant and author of the 2022 memoir, I'm Not Broken. Born to indigenous working-class Mexican immigrants in San Diego in the 1970s, Jesse Leon writes about his ruptured childhood in a heartbreaking and remarkable story of the journey Jesse takes to win back his life, leading him to the steps of Harvard University. 

Sponsored by the King County Library System Foundation and part of the Author Voices series.  

Register now on Crowdcast!

About I'm Not Broken. . .

In this unflinching and inspiring memoir, Jesus Leon tells an extraordinary story of resilience and survival, shining a light on a childhood spent devastated by sex trafficking, gang life, and substance abuse.

Born to indigenous working-class Mexican immigrants in San Diego in the 1970s, Jesus Leon’s childhood was violently ruptured. A dangerous and harrowing encounter at a local gift shop when he was eleven years old left Leon with a deadly secret. Hurt, alone, and scared for his life, Leon numbed his pain by losing himself in the macho culture of the streets and wherever else he could find it—in alcohol, drugs, and prostitution. Overlooked by state-sanctioned institutions and systems intended to help victims of abuse, neglected like many other low-income Latinos, Leon spiraled into cycles of suicide and substance abuse.

I’m Not Broken is the heartbreaking and remarkable story of the journey Leon takes to win back his life, leading him to the steps of Harvard University. From being the lone young person of color in Narcotics Anonymous meetings to coming to terms with his own queer identity, to becoming an engaged mentor for incarcerated youth, Leon finds the will to live with the love and support of his family, friends, and mentors. Recounting the extraordinary circumstances of his life, Leon offers a powerful, raw testament to the possibilities of self-transformation and self-acceptance. Unforgettable, I’m Not Broken is an inspirational portrait of one young man’s indomitable strength and spirit to survive—against all possible odds.

Jesus "Jesse" Leon is a social-impact consultant to foundations, nonprofits, and real estate developers on ways to address issues of substance abuse, affordable housing, and educational opportunities for at-risk youth. Since receiving a master’s degree from the Harvard Kennedy School, Jesse has worked in philanthropy and community relations for Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase Foundation, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Jesse recently moved back to San Diego to be closer to his mother and to pursue his dream of publishing this book. He is a native Spanish speaker and fluent in English and Portuguese.

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