Author and educator, Ricardo Cortez Cruz writes, and continues to move the crowd, as his very lively 'hood depends upon it. Cruz, who teaches English at Illinois State University, has published two novels, Straight Outta Compton and Five Days of Bleeding. His third body of (s)language is Premature Autopsies: Tales of Darkest America.






"Love loves," says Cruz in a speech on ISU's campus while accepting its 2001 Outstanding Young Alumni Award.

“Love stretches your heart and makes you big inside. And that’s really all that I am.