Jakeel R. Harris is an educator, speaker, community organizer, author and spoken-word poet that tackles topics of social justice, leadership, and self-awareness. He is a higher education professional with over 5 years of experience working within different student services departments and support programs. Jakeel's areas of concentration in higher education include providing equity-based programming, promoting leadership development, and placing a heavy emphasis on co-curricular involvement. He specializes in embedding student engagement approaches in his practice to increase student involvement and student success.
His activism includes a strong focus on promoting and encouraging pro-Blackness, engaging in community restoration, and providing equitable resources to disadvantaged communities. He holds a Master of Science degree in Counseling with an emphasis on Student Development in Higher Education from California State University, Long Beach, as well as a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Humboldt State University.
Although born in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, Harris was raised in Oceanside, California where he began his post-secondary education at MiraCosta Community College. It was there where he was involved in cultural clubs and organizations such as the Black Student Union, UMOJA, and Performance Writer’s Club, all of which set the foundation and help guide his focus and purpose.
As Founder & CEO of Project SPEAKS, Inc. (501c3), Harris uses his platform to portray and promote blackness in a positive manner. He encourages all people, especially those who come from African ancestry, to connect to their cultural roots, embrace their identity, and build pride in who they are.
"Be Ready Every Amazing Thing Happens Eventually. In other words, BREATHE."
- Jakeel Harris
Self-growth begins with open-mindedness and belief in one’s abilities. Growth is a life-long process that isn’t an individual journey, but one that starts with self-realization. A willingness to learn and having genuine empathy are essential steps in determining how to treat people fairly and justly. Strong relationships are kept stable with honesty and building trust. Sustainable development is the pathway to social justice, economic growth, and self-perseverance.
SPOKEN WORD POET
Jakeel performs and writes spoken word poetry under the pseudonym SPEAKS, covering topics of race and identity, while using his life experiences as a platform to discuss important issues that plague our society. SPEAKS is an acronym for Spreads Positivity Encourage Awareness Know Something, which is not only his stage name but also the non-profit organization and movement he has founded. He has performed his poetry at various venues such as California State University, Long Beach, California State University, San Marcos, California State University, Bakersfield, and MiraCosta Community College. Jakeel is also available by request.