Name: Julio Cruz Jr

Social Media Handle/Username: @cruzsteelski

Introduce Yourself/Tell About Yourself: I am a Brooklyn native, who was raised in Rochester NY. I went from a big city to a smaller one with big city trimmings. My father didn’t think he’d live to see my 18th birthday and my mother earned free cups of coffee at the hospital cafeteria when I was younger. A year after his mother died, my father found his father cold & dead on Christmas day. 2 years after her mother passed from cancer, my mother’s father remarried, a diary was found and a decade plus long depression came upon her. I am a sarcastic Scorpio who dances on the edge of spoiled. I was loved, cared for, yelled at, hit, laughed with, laughed at, and allowed to grow. I was a kid who is now a man. I am a die hard Steelers fan who just hoped his dad would get him a jersey before his 18th birthday. Now I give him unwarranted New York Knicks updates while forever grateful to my mother for my favorite Steelers anything I’ve ever gotten. I am a father now who has a daughter surrounded by love and support from both sides of the family.

What Inspires You Every day? : The mother of my child and partner in life. She is so damn strong, there aren’t enough dumbbells in the world that can get me to where she is. The emotional, physical, and spiritual toll giving birth and being a mother is a type of strength no man can truly put into words. I get tired from helping her out but she is the initator. She is mama bird and no matter how we get, baby bird is true priority.

What is some words of wisdom you live by?: Words hold power. You can legitimately make or break someone’s ENTIRE day. Be kind.

What is your ultimate goal in life? : Doing camera work for the NFL. Filming poetry in motion and dealing with the madness of live television. I want it all, director yelling in my headset, the countdown to being live, and the beauty in setting up and breaking down my equipment.

What are your thoughts on people who seek attention on social media, and what message would you like to give them? : There are ways to do it I think and keep some sort of integrity. Far too often in the sports Twitter world, you’ll see people be nasty and negative about players on their own team just to sniff some interactions. I saw a user go from chastising an aging gatekeeper in Pittsburgh, to tagging him when a video of a Steeler doing an internet challenge got posted. People will live miserably just to play villains in a story that has many. I’ve definitely said negative things but never with the goal of being that character. My “in game” tweets are about as genuine in the moment as it gets, outside of that there’s no need to be that guy all the time.

How would you help people around the world who are going through mental health problems? : Seek help. Build a strong tribe around you. Find a community that you can communicate with sometimes to distract yourself. A silver lining mentality is not easy to have but sometimes it’s ok to feel blessed to have just woken up. It’s ok to feel blessed that you can shower off the past day. Blessed that you can battle whatever you’re battling in settings that others can’t be in. No one is perfect and you are loved, cared for, and worried about.

How would you describe a better world for us all? : True financial equity and equality. Those feeding and living off stolen land and labor paying reparations in land and more to the oppressed. A government filled with people who care not families of slave owners who tell me how good I have it now. There will never be true peace until the landscape shifts.

What else would you like to tell others about you or your life?: I want my daughter to know happiness. I want my Steelers to win 3 Superbowls in the next 7 years. I want people to realize how messed up the world truly is and that we’re fighting the wrong people. Eat the rich. Eradicate homelessness and shake up capitalism so those economics can truly trickle down. There are good people in the world, we’re just broke right now.

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