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TedX speakers challenged audience to bridge differences

Speakers at the TedX
Photo by Michael Garcia

TedX was held at Texas State on Saturday, Oct. 21. The theme of the series of keynotes was Bridging Difference. The speakers invited thinking and discussions on race issues in America and the use of labeling and building relationships with people of different backgrounds. A total of 10 speakers took the stage to convey these ideas.

Each speaker conveyed the importance of communication and how easily manipulated communication can become amongst one another. Ian Smith, co-founder of Human-Enviornmental-Animal-Team discussed two styles of activism, one way having little to no effect. Tafari Robertson, public relations junior and the founder of Pan African Action Comittee discussed the importance of institutional space. Jorrel Javier, musical theory senior, expressed his awareness of himself through the form of slam poetry.

Abdiel Coli, physics sophomore, said TedX gave the audience the opportunity to speak about the critical conversations.

“I think this brings up an important discussion that we need to have with each other, especially in today’s world,” Coli said.

Some of the accomplishments these individuals achieved are developing Texas States first multicultural longe, being recognized as by Texas State one year as “Best Organizaion” and founding the company “Kuros!”, a company that provides pepper spray to women in order to protect them from sexual predators.

The last speaker of the event was Susie Bannon, a communication educator and advocate. Bannon took the stage to discuss the negatives of efficiency in communication and informed the audience of the different functions in communication.

“Several years ago, I was convicted of a serious crime,” Bannon said. “I was sentenced to prison. I went to prison, I did my time and then I returned home, ready to move forward with my life.”

This caused Bannon to be labeled a felon in the state of Texas. Bannon argued that efficiency can be less helpful at times. When labeling someone with a negative connotation attached with it, can stop communication all together.

When looking for a job, Bannon was not given the opportunity to explain why she had been labeled a felon or show any credentials for the job she had applied for.

She would inherit labels such as a liability, and  “the scum of the earth.” Bannon explained that it is an efficient way to assume the worst of a felon, but it is not accurate or effective.

After prison, Bannon earned two college degrees and is completing her doctorate at University of Texas in communication studies.

“We are evolving creatures. The phrase live and learn didn’t come from nowhere,” Bannon said.

Last years event held a total of 100 guests, which many had to apply in order to receive tickets. This year’s event hosted an audience of more than 300.

The event held three sessions with 30-minute intervals. The organizers provided food for guests and placed LEGO sets on the dining tables provided to help the audience think creatively on what bridging differences looked like to them.

TedX is an international community that organizes local TED style events. Follow @TedxTXState on Twitter to learn about future TedX events.