I have just come off of another TEDX event this past weekend (Fathers Day actually), and as always, it was a great experience. This will have made my second time attending; the first being back in January, I believe. The theme of that one was, “ARTS & CONVICTION.” This weekend it was, “FIVE YEAR PLAN.” I had a couple of friends who gave their talks, so I was there, in part, to support. Was also there for my own selfish reasons, one of which was to take advantage of the opportunity to meet new people outside of this environment, and make new connections. By the way, for those who are unfamiliar with what TEDX is about, I will direct you to the appropriate websites at the end of this piece.These websites will tell you everything you need/want to know about it. And if you care to support this movement, then please make a donation.
Anyway, the day started for us around 9am, but the first guest of about 150 came in at 10:30 and we were off to the races. For me, I liken the experience to that of a box of chocolates – not exactly knowing what sort of interesting flavors you’ll come across. So needless to say, there were some very interesting conversations; ranging from the superficial to the serious. One of my more interesting (and fun) conversations was with a young lady of Muslim faith. We must’ve carried on for an hour and a half, and we enjoyed a rather candid time sharing our thoughts and ideas on everything from the past, family, faith, relationship, life and so on. It was refreshing to say the least. Surprisingly, there were a lot of candid conversations being shared, which was proof-positive that if opportunities are created, the divide between society and the incarcerated can be bridged for the better.
Beyond the myriad of social interactions taking place during the event, the speakers who actually gave TED talks really did a great job. There were two outside guest; Dr. Paul Perry (educator, teacher, school designer, administrator, Harvard graduate, and executive director of THE RESET FOUNDATION. And also Deborah Jiang Stein, who is a national speaker and founder of THE unPRISON PROJECT. She also is the author of the book, “Prison baby.” They both spoke very movingly about their respective causes. They served as a reminder that in spite of all the worlds constant ills, there are people among us who passionately strive to make a difference where possible. I’m always inspired when I see such individuals.
Among the inmate speakers, there was Louis Yarborough, who is a friend of mine. He spoke about being more than just a beard (he has a rather distinctive beard that we all know him by), also there was a guy named Johnnie Jordan, who shared the painful story of his childhood and how it all led him to some of the destructive mistakes in his life. He also talked about the redemptive power that has led him to overcome his past circumstances and make the necessary changes for his continued growth as a person. In addition, there was a guy named Nicholos ‘Rain’ Young, who talked about the tragedies of his youth and how his passion for music helped to bring some healing to his life and add promise to his future. He hopes to be a positive force in the music business, and help cultivate some of the young, up and coming talent here in Ohio.
Needless to say, all of these stories are inspiring, and offer a glimpse of the human spirit overcoming some of life’s most difficult challenges. The ultimate goal in all of this, is to promote healing in the hearts and minds of the world’s wounded. And make no mistake about it, we all can make a measured difference in this ongoing healing process. It starts and ends with each of us.
Before I close and leave you to the rest of your day, how many of you are familiar with the “Six-Word Memoir” project? It was created by a guy named Larry Smith, and the premise is basically summing up your life in six words. My Six word memoir was/is: “Alive with possibility is for everyone.” The simple truth is, everyone has a story; some good, some not so good, but it’s your story and it’s worth being shared because you just never know who it will impact in the world. By the way, your six word memoir can be about anything. So what’s your six word memoir?
As always, in closing, stay blessed out there wherever you are, and continue enjoying the little things in life and loving one another as you should because tomorrow is never promised. I will talk with you all real soon, but until then,…!
LOVE, PEACE, AND RESPECT,
-See talks & performances: Youtube/tedxmarioncorrectional
Healing Broken Circles @ The Columbus Foundation
-See still pictures at: