Poet, former Tiyan High School teacher and Men of UNO alumni John "Meta" Sarmiento was spotted on the TEDxMileHigh stage in July. TEDxMileHigh is an independently organized event under the TEDx program, an international community that self-organizes TED-like experiences on a local level.
On YouTube, his presentation "Finding Strength in a World Obsessed with Size" was posted earlier this week where he performed a poem written to his nephew and spoke of his struggles growing up.
"Being on stage was surreal," he tells UNO. "It's always a transcendent moment when I connect to an audience on that level. My talk has several important messages, but the one that laid the foundation for my entire talk is that we need to measure strength beyond physical size."
During the presentation, he described himself as a tiny kid from a tiny island realizing he's from a region rich in culture next to the deepest part of the world.
"I should have seen that right next to Guam is the Marianas Trench," he said on stage. "Our trench is the deepest place on this planet. It's a world so submerged and unexplored. We're only just beginning to understand what's inside of it. I think that's how we should view strength. Size is not the final measurement. True strength is defined by the depth of our character and our potential."
Photo Courtesy of TedxMileHigh
Meta was also on stage in July at the National Poetry Slam competition at Colorado where he made it all the way to the semifinals with Slam Nuba.
In June, he released "Tie Your Shoes Kid," a collection of lyrical and narrative poems available on Amazon.
Before relocating to the mainland, Meta was a renowned slam poet and rapper who performed ahead of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in France. The poem "Island Haze" was chosen by the Global Call for Climate Action group as part of Meta's win in the 2015 Spoken Word for the World competition.
That earned him a spot on the cover of UNO Magazine's Issue 33 in 2016, part of the annual "Men of UNO" feature.
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Guam born and raised, this contributor has an affinity for island life, people, food and culture. Got a story idea? Email her at email@example.com.Follow on Twitter More Content by Lacee A.C. Martinez