After reviewing 33 speaker/performer applications, the TEDx Core Team selected 21 men in blue to interview. Yesterday, half of these men each got three minutes to share their “idea worth spreading” and their motivation to share that idea with the world.
One man, with a triple life sentence, spoke eloquently and compassionately about the urgent need in today’s world to overcome stereotypes and to open ourselves up by speaking to those we consider “other.” Another said “prison is not just punishment; it can provide purpose.” (Yeah, seriously!) Another spoke with vulnerability about his choices in his life, leading to “believe in yourself” and how that enabled him to become the person who finds complete satisfaction in serving others. Another broke into spoken word with grace and poetry, taking us on a colorful ride through prison and beyond.
And every step of the way, we continue to be mesmerized by the true human beings sitting with us. Yesterday was Dita’s first time in prison. She had told me that she was not sure how she was going to respond to that environment. She was thrown deeply and instantly into our little TEDx world. I gave her the same voting sheet we all used to shortlist the speakers and performers, and we were off. Regularly, I would glance over to her and watch her transformation as she discovered the treasures that exist behind prison walls. By the end of our three hours with the men, Dita was hooked. She asked to come back every day of the week and already considers herself a key member of the coordinating team. 🙂
For others who wish to support this activity, from both the inside and outside, let’s chat.