Featured article image courtesy by Jessie Paulino


There are individuals who endure great hardship in life that struggle to come to terms with their past, whether the topics range from drug addiction, childhood trauma, abusive upbringings, parental abandonment, and many other difficult situations people are faced with by choice or involuntarily. There is one gentleman who has a profound story of hope and inspiration. He has devoted over 15 years implementing, building, and sustaining behavioral health programs to diverse populations and underserved communities in New York City. After enduring homelessness, abandonment and abuse, he has came out of his own darkness and into the light to bring forth his wisdom and passion to the world. This individual is Eddie Pabon.

In 2003 at age 19 Eddie was diagnosed with HIV and became a peer educator at People of Color In Crisis. He traveled to the CDC in Atlanta twice to assist in the development of structural change initiatives for HIV prevention programs. Eddie collaborated with Human Relations Media and BOW WOW to produce an educational video about HIV/AIDS. During that time Eddie sat on the Steering Committee for official NYC Pride events while assisting in the production of several PSAs geared towards youth of color.

Eddie Pabon on May 19, 2019 in New York City | Courtesy of Jessie Paulino/

Eddie Pabon on May 19, 2019 in New York City | Courtesy of Jessie Paulino/

As an Americorps Public Ally in 2007, he dedicated 1700 volunteer hours in community service over a ten month period - receiving the “Spirit of Diligence in Service Award”. Shortly after he became a CASAC at Services For The Underserved. Working with the community in substance abuse programs, managing homeless shelters, and correctional settings. Eddie worked over 4 years at Rikers Island In collaboration with the Department of Corrections and Department of Health to provide transitional health care coordination services. It was then Eddie noticed a clear correlation between lack of adequate support during youth and unhealthy mental and physical adult habits - causing cyclic traumatic outcomes like incarceration, disease, homelessness, mental illness and early death.

In 2015 He suffered a traumatic car accident that inspired him to change the course of his life by creating "LaLecheDelArte" to capture light and love in the moment as a photographer. Most recently Eddie became an author and speaker for Voyage To Love - releasing “The Son Will Rise in December” an inspirational memoir he hopes will inspire anyone facing trauma to find their light, love and happiness within.


NIE: Congratulations on becoming an author and publishing your first memoir ‘The Son Will Rise In December’. What inspired you to write such a raw and honest narrative of your painful personal experiences? And why?

Eddie Pabon: Thank you. Quite a few factors played into becoming an author and telling it almost as raw as I experienced it. Growing up I never considered myself special in any kind of way. My perception of life was that my family system and home life was like everyone else’s.

As I got older, I realized just how messed up things were when I was a child - how unique I truly was but also how much of what I experienced related to what others were going through around me. I noticed their silence. At some point I realized I could easily be a silent “victim” if that's what I accepted for myself. Everyone I’ve ever shared childhood experiences with said, “You should write a book or make a movie” followed by their unwanted sympathy and at times outpouring of emotions.

"Have honor, have faith, and to love unconditionally.”

- Eddie Pabon

So for many years in my professional career I did not share details of my upbringing. I guess I just wanted to fit in and feel normal. I remember at times feeling like a hypocrite for asking strangers, clients, and even friends to share their deepest selves with me but I was [not] extending myself to anyone in return.

I wanted to help others find their strengths by sharing my struggles. I wanted others like myself who have felt alone, misunderstood, stereotyped, lost, confused and hopeless to know that they can lift themselves regardless of the circumstances just like I did. I also felt as though being honest and raw was my way of making peace with my truth and my past - My way of letting go, bringing awareness, giving back and starting a conversation about real life altruistic issues.

NIE: What was your process and techniques you used to flush out and structure the story? What aspects of the book was the most challenging to write?

Eddie Pabon: I wanted to give the different elements of the [various ages of] Eddie’s experience. Initially I made a running list of bullets detailing experiences I believed to be significant. Once I had a few pages (yes pages), I began to source journals I kept, news articles about Dad and Diane Sawyer, and family member memories to timeline them as best I could. From there I detailed and explained the madness that was. I wanted to show the reader my perspective as a boy, as a teen and as an adult. I’d have to say that reliving finding my mother dead was the most difficult part to document. I’m an emotional guy and quite a few tears were shed during the writing process.

The Son Will Rise In December available now for purchase | Courtesy of Jessie Paulino -

The Son Will Rise In December available now for purchase | Courtesy of Jessie Paulino -

NIE: Topics of your memoir tackle such difficult topics of homelessness, abandonment and abuse. How do you feel our society contributes and or encourages individuals, certainly young teens with health disparities and pervasive patterns of self-destructive behavior to the awareness of such issues? And what is your opinion on helping such individuals, and what any going through these issues should seek out?

Eddie Pabon: Great question. In my experience growing up, a lot of these subjects were almost too taboo to talk about. Some of them are still to this day difficult for people to discuss as a reality, either because they are fearful, unaware or simply feel helpless. Some people are pre-contemplative about their own circumstances and they don't realize that they are subconsciously subscribed to struggling and repeating learned patterns of behavior. A Balanced approach to Physical, Mental, Emotional, Spiritual and Interpersonal health is very important as is the importance of the availability of resources. There are a variety of factors that contribute to self-destructive behavior with the most prevalent causes being low self-esteem, lack of support systems, financial status, availability of services etc.

Back cover of ‘The Son Will Rise In December’ | Courtesy of Jessie Paulino - Graphic Designer/

Back cover of ‘The Son Will Rise In December’ | Courtesy of Jessie Paulino - Graphic Designer/

While I think each individual's circumstance is unique and therefore requires a person’s centered approach, my advice to anyone in these circumstances would be to PRACTICE (Patiently Repeat Altruistic Challenges To Inspire Core Excellence). Give yourself credit for how far you’ve come and take note of your blessings. Journal the things you’re grateful for and make sure to celebrate your own great performances. Ask for help and don't be afraid to try new things. Step out of your comfort zone. You're capable of manifesting the things you need to live a higher vibrational standard. To anyone trying to help someone else - be present in the moment and do your best to be the support, light, and love you would wish for others to be to you. Give love to one another and back up your words with actions. Don't judge a book by its cover (pun intended), instead treat everyone as the individual they are and approach them accordingly.

NIE: In your book, you mention being diagnosed with HIV at the young age of 19 back in 2003. How has the disease changed your life and what do you personally achieve in maintaining your health both physically and mentally?

Eddie Pabon: Initially I thought it was a death sentence. I thought I wouldn't make it to see 30 years old. Enveloped in apathetic fear. Now, oddly enough, I consider it to have been more of a blessing than a curse because it changed the perspective and direction of my life. I was able to step back from the patterned day to day thinking and began to ask myself daily “What will I spend the rest of my life doing?”. All I knew was that I just wanted to be happy and have love in my life before I died. I wanted to leave something behind that helped people. I wanted to make my mark on this planet and I wanted to be a part of the solution. The disease made me aware of how precious life is and how much we all take it for granted everyday.

“Own who you are! That is your biggest strength in this world.”

- Eddie Pabon

I make sure to meditate daily, have good people in my circle and try to live as normally as possible without allowing it to affect my mental health. I eat healthy and exercise routinely.

NIE: How thoroughly did you outline this book prior to the beginning, and did you layer certain details and significant memories as you go along? Or did you find that you did that more in revisions after the story’s already down on the page?

Eddie Pabon: I made a thorough outlining and spent many months making sure I wrote down every detail. Revisions were simply time lining and removing some memories that my editor felt were either too much or could be tabled for the next book.

NIE: What role does setting play for you in bringing your story to life? And how true are the descriptions told in the story? Any dramatization brought in to bring more of an arc to the story?

Eddie Pabon: Having been shuffled around so much during my childhood, I think it plays a significant role in giving perspective. Showing my readers where I was when experiencing all that I share in the book. I wish I could say things were dramaticized but unfortunately they are ALL true. I shared my heart and soul in my book. There’s an old saying I heard a lot growing up and it was “Real recognizes real” (I’ve since adapted it to “Energy doesn’t lie”) - I kept this as the baseline for everything shared in “The Son Will Rise In December”.


NIE: Where did the desire to be an author stem from?

Eddie Pabon: As a child I watched my mother journal her feelings a lot. She would write letters to me and my siblings. It was one of her many ways she expressed love and appreciation to us. I kept a few journals here and there. When I got into the field of HIV prevention and Social Services I was documenting everything from committee meeting minutes to client service plans and progress notes. I was trained to observe and document with a more clinical eye. One day I had the privilege of sitting for lunch with Diane Sawyer and she proposed the question, “If you could wake up everyday and do something that made you happy - what would that be?” Almost immediately I knew I wanted to share my story and connect with people on a deeper level. It felt as though every experience I ever had was leading to this moment of divine life path.

NIE: What obstacles do you face as an author and what do you do to overcome and achieve your goals?

Eddie Pabon: As a new author with a small publishing house backing, in such a large and competitive market, it can be significantly challenging and at times feel defeating, but if you’ve read my book then you’ll know this is all apart of my happy ending. I’m just getting started and when I set my intentions and desires to persistent action there's no stopping me. If I receive blockage or someone doesn’t return my email for example, yeah it’s a sucky feeling. However, I believe their rejection is a reflection of themselves and only leading me to what is for me. I’m comforted when my spirit tells me this is my calling and they may not return my emails but they will surely regret missing the opportunity to collaborate with me on such a beautiful mission.

“Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there because you just never know what blessings await on the other side of fear.”

- Eddie Pabon

NIE: What advice would you give young aspiring writers about telling their stories and achieving their dreams?

Eddie Pabon: Own who you are! That is your biggest strength in this world. We have enough copycats so simply be you. Be patient with yourself and PRACTICE (Patiently Repeat Altruistic Challenges To Inspire Core Excellence) Being. Don’t sweat the small stuff (and it’s all small stuff!) You can achieve ANYTHING you want to and don't ever let anyone convince you otherwise. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there because you just never know what blessings await on the other side of fear.


NIE: If you could name a few authors who inspired you to create your own memoir, who would they be and why?

Eddie Pabon: Oh gosh there's so many but here are the ones that pop into mind in no particular order of preference. Don Miguel Ruiz for “The Four Agreements”, “The Fifth Agreement”, “The Mastery of Self” and “The Mastery of Love” - I love his books for laying the foundation to peaceful living and mutual understanding.

Michael A. Singer for “The Untethered Soul - This book helps you to take a look at the voice of the mind to understand it better. It helped me a lot to notice negative chatter. Jen Sincero “How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life” - I was especially entertained by Jens sense of humor.

Mark Armiento “Sleepwalking on a Tightrope: Transcend Life's Challenges Through Learning the Life Balance Advantage - Mark has laid out a simplistic, direct, and balanced approach to self help. Focusing on 5 life domains and techniques any individual can utilize to find life balance.

Billur Suu - “The Woman Who Sold Her Diamonds and Became a Voyager of Love in Fifty Days Around the World” - A love story of a woman who bought herself an around the world ticket and rediscovered who she was. Billur demonstrates pure love and pours her heart into the story.

NIE: Do you have any upcoming books that audiences should keep a look out for?

Eddie Pabon: I’m currently working on a couple of projects but would rather wait until they're finished manifesting before making any announcements. So yes but no titles or details right now though (wink).

Eddie Pabon during a rooftop photo shoot in the Bronx, New York | Courtesy of Jessie Paulino

Eddie Pabon during a rooftop photo shoot in the Bronx, New York | Courtesy of Jessie Paulino

NIE: You also are a successful photographer and owner of your own company. What can you tell us about your career, and how are all of your professional elements help, guide and provide more outlets and abilities in your outreach?

Eddie Pabon: LaLecheDelArte (Light and Love Captured In The Moment) has afforded me the ability to be a part of many private family events like weddings, birthdays, and family gatherings. It’s also given me insight into the world of creative independent artists. I love to connect with each individual's energy and capture their energy in the moment. Coming from a non-profit world of operations, I am able to identify, outreach and engage community resources. I’ve had the privilege of being Director of Photography for Chulo Underwear Brands Fashion Week show several times. Most of all I love meeting new people and networking regularly. There are so many amazing and talented people in this world and you will not meet them hiding in a corner. Overall, my experiences have given me a new found respect for the hustle and grind of entrepreneurs.

NIE: Who inspires you to be the person you are today and hope to continue to grow and become?

Eddie Pabon: So many people have come into my life-path and inspired me in one way or another. My mother has always been the inspiration behind the person I aim to be everyday. She taught me to have honor, have faith, and to love unconditionally, which can be a challenge at times. Diane Sawyer inspired me to believe in my writing skills and to set my life plan into action. I respect her work ethic. She embodies mastery over mediocracy - a personality trait I work towards being known for. My siblings inspire me to be better. They're all special to me in their own ways (and I have quite a few) but as the oldest I feel it is my job to show them that our past does not dictate who we are or where we’re going, but instead should fuel self-love, growth prosperity and peaceful living.

NIE: Besides your professional career, what can you tell us about you?

Eddie Pabon: I am a simple, spiritual, humble, and hopelessly romantic guy. I love spending time with family, friends and members of the community but I equally love to meditate and have me time. I’m deeply passionate about elevating consciousness, both for myself and my community. I love photography! Being able to not only capture but personally be a part of, and experience, some of life's most precious moments, has been a blessing.

I used to be very timid, shy and thought I would never amount to or accomplish anything in life but I'm proud to say this is in complete contrast to the person that I've become today. So to all of you out there who doubt yourself or think negatively about your potential, I challenge you to change the lense you're looking at your life through. Challenge yourself to identify and remove any self-defeating thoughts.You can achieve ANYTHING you set your heart and mind to!

My current desire is to inspire the best in every and anyone I can while here for this glimpse of an experience we call life. I am currently working with someone to adapt my story into a screenplay and am excited to share that with the world as well. I have many desires but overall I hope to maintain life balance, travel as much as I can and have new cultural experiences.

NIE: We want to thank you for taking your time and having this interview. Is there anyone at this moment you would like to thank?

Eddie Pabon: It is absolutely my pleasure and thank you for interviewing me. Where do I start; I would love to thank God, My Mother Michelle Ramirez may she rest in peace, Diane Sawyer, Billur Suu (Voyage To Love Corp.), Jessie Paulino my partner who supports my dreams, People Of Color in Crisis, Americorps Public Allies NY, Mark Armiento (Life Balance Advantage), Services For The UnderServed (SUS), Dirk McCall (Bronx Borough President's Office), William Foley, EVERY SINGLE person who has picked up a copy of my book, Dominic Colon, my family and friends! Your love, support and faith in me empowers me to be better everyday so thank you all!


Follow Eddie on Facebook, Instagram, and his Official Website.

- Mary Swanson