Tuesday, May 9, 2017

TEDxHerndon Conference

This past Saturday afternoon, I traveled to a local middle school and settled in to listen to eighteen TED talks about difficult conversations. I left four and a half hours later inspired and motivated and educated.

There's not enough time to share everything with you, so I'll share some highlights for me. Whitney Parnell spoke about creating allies and building bridges. Her talk started with this song she wrote. I was sobbing.

Kwame Alexander was one of the speakers. 

He always inspires when he speaks. His message was to be a SAY YES person. I laughed and listened and teared up as he shared his journey and experiences.

After Kwame came the legendary, Nikki Giovanni! I have been reading her poetry since college. She's bigger than life. In person, she's sassy and irreverent and brilliant! My favorite thing is she walked on stage and gave her TED talk holding her notebook. I felt a connection with her as soon as I saw that!

She spoke to writers about writing and not worrying about what people think about it. She then launched into a poem about fear. Here are a couple of lines from it,

"I think fear should be a spice..."

"I need to explain right here, it's not fear that causes problems, it's when hatred is combined with it..."

"Hatred is a bad idea, which is why it's cheap and available, anywhere you look"

Her words echo in my mind. There were so many other powerful speakers who made me think and who taught me. I have pages and pages of notes in my notebook. I can't wait to return and reread and soak in these words.

If you ever get the chance to attend a TED Conference, I highly recommend it!


  1. Thanks, Michelle!
    I had no idea that Ted Conferences existed so I'm grateful for this post! <3

  2. WOW! I am more than a little jealous. So many inspiriing speakers and great ideas in one place. i can see why you left "inspired and motivated and educated".

  3. Interesting that you were at a TED talk about difficult conversations on Saturday. I was in synagogue on Saturday morning. There was a guest rabbi, Rabbi Amy Eilberg, who came to town to talk about the same topic. (In case you're interested, her book on the topic is called From Enemy to Friend: Jewish Wisdom and the Pursuit of Peace. I haven't read it yet, but it sounded interesting based on her sermon.)

  4. So you were Kwame stalking again, huh? :)) I've never had a Ted talk in my area, but I would love to attend one. (Especially if Kwame is there!)

  5. I saw your Instagram this weekend and wondered if you would blog about the TED talks. I love Nikki's comments about fear as a spice and fear with hatred being the problem. THis certainly rings true for me.

  6. I was so thrilled to see this show up today! I've barely had time to think about Saturday so reading your reflections was awesome. And you took such fantastic pictures!

  7. So jealous! Thanks for sharing.

  8. I wish I'd known! Just a few miles down the road...Thanks for giving us a glimpse!


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