The Silicon Valley Voice

Power To Your Voice

Venus Jones, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Venus Jones followed her lucky star from Florida to California with trepidation.

Jones had a job she liked and was involved in the local arts scene in the Tampa Bay Area, where she and her high-tech husband lived. So when her husband got a job offer in Silicon Valley, she was reluctant to leave, even for San Francisco Bay.

But the couple moved to San Jose in 2015.

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“Oh, great. Now what am I gonna do?” Jones said to herself. “Everything’s okay with Stephen, but what about me? I’m an artist, author and poet with a background in theater.”

“I didn’t think there would be any art for me,” said Jones, who a couple years earlier had returned to school, earning a Master’s Degree in English and creative writing from Mills College in Oakland.

“But I believe in affirmation and visualization, so I put it out in the universe,” said the woman who was named after the second brightest object in the night sky. Venus is also the hottest of all the planets.

In time, Jones found her niche in Silicon Valley by reaching out to others.

“I started volunteering. I got involved,” said Jones. “I tutored for Read Santa Clara at the Northside Branch Library. I became a board member of the Poetry Center San Jose.”

She launched Soulful Journey Open Mic Night for poetry, theater, music and dance at First A.M.E. Zion Church in San Jose on fourth Fridays.

“Volunteering opened my eyes to the fact that when we’re contributing to society — when you reach out, it makes you feel better about yourself,” said Jones one morning on the campus of Mission College.

Jones, who calls herself a work in progress and a lifetime student, has taught English at Mission College in Santa Clara since August of 2018.

Last January, she and her husband moved to a tree-lined street with squirrels in Santa Clara.

“We heard it was one of the best places to live in the Bay Area because it was a small-knit community,” said Jones, who was raised in Ohio.

Venus Jones believes that her given name helps her reach for the stars.

“My name leads me to the celestial,” she said, quoting a line of her own poetry. Learn more about Jones at www.venusjones.com.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor is a column where we casually interview people we meet in Santa Clara. The column hopes to highlight what makes Santa Clara special — the people who live, work and play here.

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