TEDx Durham – Post Event Thoughts

Technically, this blog post is late. But I’m going to count it as a post for October 6th.

Today I went to TEDx Durham. I want to parse through my thoughts from the event.

The theme of the event was titled “No Filter.” The goal was to talk about the community of Durham bluntly, unabashedly, and with vision. Some of the speakers truly provoked me in ways that make me want to commit to some immediate change in my life.

Durham is struggling with drastic racial inequality, gentrification, poor school systems, poor urban-planning, and so on. There is a lot of rich culture and history here as well but, just like most cities in the USA, it is built on oppression and injustice.

It was refreshing to hear new thoughts and ideas on these issues spoken so candidly. To me, it shows how in love with this city people are. And I don’t blame them. DurhamĀ is wonderful. To keep it that way there needs to be systematic change though.

There are, as I found out, many ways I can help to contribute to that growth. I feel compelled to support a way of making foundational change to society. Not to put a bandaid over the problem. Is that by working with at risk youth? Stopping prison recidivism? Focusing on legislature and policy change?

I don’t know.

I think that it would also take a lot of time and research to figure out which is the most beneficial to society.

For that reason, I’m going to try doing two things based on what intuitively think are good ways to work within my community.

I care about people. Injustice is upsetting to me. I also believe in the complex hierarchy that privilege can create in the world. Through my lens of the world, people of color and women get the very short end of the stick in comparison to their counterparts. I have experienced some of the hurdles that come with being a woman of color in the USA, but even then I am white-passing and come from a middle-class family.

I want to use my privilege to help people.

Volunteering with at-risk children is one way I want to help my community. Giving them time and resources at a vulnerable time in life will hopefully help to set them up for better odds as they grow up. I did year of volunteering with the Girls Empowerment Network in Austin and found it to be one of the most fulfilling things I could have done. I hope to find a similar program here in Durham.

The other action item I’d like to move forward with is the creation of “Circles.” As I’ve come to find out, I am an extremely empathetic and extroverted person. I learn about myself through others and love to learn about and support others in general. An attorney by the name of Scott Holmes introduced us to how he would reimagine our justice system and the steps he’s taking to make those changes.

During a breakout session he had us experience the type of support circles he engages victims of crimes as well as committers of crime in. During the circle everyone shares their feelings and reactions about the issue at hand and then processes those together. This struck a chord with me because I know that a lot of adult rarely process heavy emotions with others. More and more people are going to therapy, which I think is great, but there is still a huge gap.

I want to create circles like these for people in the community. Places that allow space for processing and provide support in return. Being able to create a safe space like this isn’t going to be easy but hopefully impactful on the people who take part.

I’m excited for the spark of passion this event has ignited within me. I hope that more people attend events like this and more sparks happen.

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