TEDxSantaBarbara talks explore racism, justice, pandemic
“Making Waves: Conversations with Influencers and Disruptors” is the theme for the new series of virtual talks sponsored by TEDxSanta Barbara, the locally organized offshoot of the international TED nonprofit.
The free online events, which address COVID-19, systemic racism and social justice, are available live on Zoom and Facebook at 4 p.m. Wednesdays through December with occasional special edition sessions at different times.
“These 30-minute conversations get right to the heart of today’s challenges and, more importantly, the solutions are within reach,” said Mark Sylvester, TEDxSantaBarbara executive producer. “The series started as a response to the postponement of our annual in-person event each fall at the New Vic Theater. We wanted to create something that would give us a platform to stay connected to the community.”
Speaking today is Than Baardson, whose topic is “Accelerating the Fight Against Human trafficking and Its Root Causes.” He is the CEO and co-founder of Unseen, which focuses on human trafficking.
Lisa Jones, a health-care expert and clinician at the Bear Institute for Pediatric Health Innovation at Children’s National Hospital and Cerner Corporation, will discuss “COVID-19 and Race: Double Emergencies for Women of Color” at 4 p.m. Sept. 9.
“Lives at Stake: Suicide and Mental Health During COVID” will be Mariel Hemingway’s topic at 5 p.m. Sept. 9, which is a special edition in honor of National Suicide Prevention Day on Sept. 10.
The actor and bestselling author is an advocate who co-founded the Dead Poets Foundation to turn the trajectory of suicide downward.
Dr. Harry Grammer, a 2017 CNN Hero and inaugural Obama Foundation Fellow, will also speak. His topic is “Breaking Down Privilege.”
A nationwide activist and educator, he founded the community-based organization New Earth in 2004 and is instrumental in reforming the justice system in Los Angeles County.
“In looking at the various areas we wanted to focus on, it seemed appropriate to look at the pandemic from different lenses that were not being addressed by the media,” Mr. Sylvester said. “During our planning stages, the George Floyd tragedy happened, and we pivoted to split our focus to include social justice.
“While we are focusing on Santa Barbara voices, we reached beyond our borders to expand the conversations to include industry leaders from across the United States,” he added.
Future speakers and topics include:
— Keith Witt: “Cultivating a Post-outrage Consciousness.”
— Dr. Kyra Gaunt: “Agree to be Offended and Stay Connected.”
— Jan Campbell: “Finding a Vaccine for Violence.”
— Kerri Murray: “The Role of Shelter During a Pandemic.”
— Lisa Biggs: “Building Emotional Resilience in Our Children.”
— John Greathouse: “Looking Around the Corner: The Zoomers’ Role in the Post-COVID Success.”
— Katie Hershfelt: “Making It Worth It to Plant the Next Harvest: Reinventing Community Supported Agriculture.”
— Andreas Forslund: “Connecting Intentions to Outcomes: Reinventing Interpersonal Communications.”
— Shannon Kenney: “Social Justice Is on the Front Lines of Sustainable Change.”
— Jackson Gillies: “New Year’s Musical Celebration.” Mr. Gillies won Santa Barbara’s Teen Star contest in 2016 and competed on ABC’s “American Idol” in 2019.
“Since 2010, TEDxSantaBarbara has created space for amazing speakers to deliver ideas worth spreading, with more than 100 speakers and 18.1 million video views in that time,” said Mr. Sylvester, organizer of the nonprofit along with his wife, Kymberlee Weil, speaker strategist and curator.
“This year’s ‘Making Waves’ series of conversations is empowering individuals to present, learn and advance ideas into action. These ideas creatively and positively impact the Santa Barbara community and the world at large.”