Santa Cruz Good Times

Thursday
Apr 24th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Opening Up

news2TEDx Santa Cruz speakers discuss deeper connections with the world

During the TEDx Santa Cruz conference, which took place on Saturday, Sept. 15, poet and author Albert Flynn DeSilver shared his experience of living with alcoholism, an endless cycle of shame, and a cult whose leaders tied him to a tree in the woods. DeSilver says he experienced a revelation while tied to that tree.

“If I ever get untied from this tree, I am going to open myself to creativity, service, and love,” he remembers thinking.

The theme of this year's TEDx—the second to be held in Santa Cruz—was “open.”

Seventeen guest speakers took to the stage at Cabrillo College's Crocker Theater to share stories about their industries, technological innovations, life callings, and personal experiences. Their topics ranged widely but all connected back to the theme of “open.”

John Perry Barlow, a former Wyoming rancher, Grateful Dead lyricist, and co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, talked about what he learned many years ago from a down-and-out hitchhiker on the edge of a small, Midwestern town: the importance of opening yourself to people's love.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Martha Mendoza, who began her career in Santa Cruz, discussed her passion for the Freedom of Information Act and how she has held government and corporations accountable for their actions by using the law to open records.

“The truth always matters, and the truth sets us free,” she said.

While the interpretations of the theme varied and were applied differently by speakers, a common idea emerged: breaking down the walls that we erect to shield ourselves from others, the world, and risk.

The diversity of presenters in this TEDx event was intentional, says organizer David Warren, who is a retired professor of Digital Media at Cabrillo College.

“The world is opening in many dimensions. Through the rapid development of technology, we're approaching the idea of openness from the global, to the local, to the personal; through poetry, art, and the intellectual,” he says. “We're trying to bring as many dimensions into this theme as possible.”

TED is a nonprofit organization that provides a platform for people with “ideas worth spreading,” he says. It started more 20 than years ago in Monterey, Calif. and grew over time. The original TED Talks (TED standing for “Technology, Entertainment, Design”) tend to focus on more global issues. A TEDx conference is different from a TED in that TEDx is independently organized and produced and focuses on local voices.

“This is really about finding interesting people in your community and giving them a stage, and not just locally but globally,” Warren says.

When Warren says globally, he is referring to the requirement by the TED organization that TEDx events record all speakers and post the videos online for the whole world to experience. Another TEDx requirement is that presenters refrain from religious, political, or sales agendas, he adds.

Director of the Museum of Art & History Nina Simon spoke passionately about her work reinventing the museum to more fully engage the community. She described her goal in creating a space where people share their stories, connect more deeply with others through artifacts and artistic activities, and contribute in ways that make the museum a reflection of the people who make Santa Cruz what it is.

Whitney Smith, the CEO of Girls for a Change, told a story about personal growth and opening after a tragedy—a story she said she had never shared. Her mother was murdered by someone close and her family was devastated. Smith compared the experience and the aftershock to what happens when a heavy stone is thrown into still water, causing the surface to ripple open and expand outward.

She spoke about her experience of feeling wounded after her mother's death and how her feelings of connectedness with all the people around her grew stronger.

Years later, it was the words of the midwife who delivered Smith's baby that helped her come to terms with her pain. While she was in labor, the midwife told her to not try to block out the pain, but open herself to it.

Smith's decision to share her story at TEDx, which she says she almost backed out of several times, was entirely in tune with the theme of openness, and the audience let her know that it resonated with them.

Warren explains that the curation committee chose the theme “open” because they believe that in order to address the biggest problems in the world today, people need to become more open to constructive change.

“We're feeling a lot of stress in the world today,” he says. “There's upheaval and uncertainty. We're going through a major period of change. We thought of 'open' as a way to think about how we can better address the challenges in the world today.”   

Comments (1)Add Comment
...
written by Onagh Ash, September 24, 2012
Whitney 's story is amazing and her work in helping thousands of young women change is a wonderful result of her personal story. I am one of her board members with GFC (girls for a change) and was not aware of her pain. Thank you for sharing

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Best of Santa Cruz County 2014

The 2014 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll Come on in, and have a look around. There’s a lot to see—hundreds of winners selected by thousands of GT readers across Santa Cruz County. So if some of this looks familiar, it’s probably because you helped make it happen. But there are always new things to discover, too—you could go to a different winner or runner-up every day in the Food and Drink category alone, and you’d be booked just about until next year’s Best of Santa Cruz County issue comes out.

 

Something Essential Disappears

Lunar and solar eclipses follow one another. Lunar eclipses occur at full moons, and solar eclipses at new moons. Two weeks ago at the full moon we had the blood red moon—a total lunar eclipse (the next one is Oct. 8). On Monday night, April 28 (new moon), as the Sun, Moon and Earth align, a solar eclipse (Sun obscured) occurs. Eclipses signify something irrevocably is changed in our world. The Sun is our essential life force. Monday’s new moon, 9 degrees Taurus, is also an annular solar eclipse when the Moon moves centrally in front of the Sun, yet does not cover the Sun completely. The Sun's outer edges, still visible, form a “ring of fire” around the Moon.

 

Sugar: The New Tobacco?

Proposed bill would require warning labels on sugary drinks Will soda and other saccharine libations soon come with a health warning? They will if it’s up to our state senator, Bill Monning (D-Carmel). On Feb. 27, Monning proposed first-of-its-kind legislation that would require a consumer warning label be placed on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in California. SB 1000, also known as the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, was proposed to provide vital information to consumers about the harmful effects of consuming sugary drinks, such as sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened teas.

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of April 17

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Tomorrow's Good Times Today
Upcoming arts & events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Palate-Stretching 101

A wine education with Soif’s experts As a veteran of many weekend wine “seminars” at Soif, I have to confess that I’ve never known less (going in) and learned more (coming out) than I did last week at the Spanish Wine Tasting with ace rep Brian Greenwood. These are classy, casual events and it’s hard to imagine having this much flavor fun anywhere for $20.

 

Martin Ranch Winery

Sauvignon Blanc 2011 One of my favorite wines is Sauvignon Blanc, and this one made by Martin Ranch is particularly lovely. Bright, crisp and refreshing, it’s perfect to pair with fish and shellfish—and good for picnics as it has an easy screw-cap bottle. There’s nothing worse than setting down your blanket, pulling out your sandwiches—and then realizing you don’t have a corkscrew.

 

Foodie File: Red Apple Cafe

Breakfast takes center stage at Gracia Krakauer's Red Apple Cafe Before they moved to Aptos, Gracia and her husband Dan Krakauer would visit friends in Santa Cruz County and eat at the Red Apple Café all the time. Then they moved up here from Santa Monica five years ago, and bought the Aptos location (there’s a separate one in Watsonville) from the family who owned it for two decades.

 

How would you feel about a tech industry boom in Santa Cruz?

I feel like it would ruin the small old-town feeling of Santa Cruz. It wouldn’t be the same Surf City kind of vacation town that it is. Antoinette BennettSanta Cruz | Construction Management