Talks to watch when you need inspiration to change the world

Stephanie Jirard at TEDxHarrisburg (Photo: TEDxHarrisburg)

Stephanie Jirard at TEDxHarrisburg (Photo: TEDxHarrisburg)

When everything in the world seems to be going wrong, powerful words from those making change can be just the thing you need to kickstart your plans to make lasting change. Below, seven talks from activists, educators, community organizers and others working to make change:

“When I tried to figure out why I didn’t shout out at the obvious injustice that was unfolding before me, I realized my fear had talked me out of it … I thought, ‘Could I teach myself to make [courage] an automatic response?’”

At TEDxHarrisburg, former trial lawyer Stephanie Jirard explores how everyday people can speak out on issues of race, gender, and sexual identity — and how this leads to big changes.

“Today, I teach the younger me … Teachers must go out of their way to create lessons that allow our students to dive into difficult dialogues, to challenge one another and to motivate each other to advocate for themselves and their communities.”

Students need education that reflects the narratives of all people groups, says educator Kaylan Daniel Holloway at TEDxMU. In this stirring talk, he discusses how typical American school curriculum fails to reflect students’ backgrounds, and how educators need to teach students to advocate for themselves, engage with government and politics, critique what they learn and explore the world outside the classroom with compassion and passion.

“If we want to live in a world where the circumstances of your birth do not dictate your future and where equal opportunity is ubiquitous, then each and every one of us has a role to play in making sure unconscious bias does not determine our lives.”

How can we challenge unconscious bias? In this talk from TEDxSouthBank, Yassmin Abdel-Magied says we should mentor someone who doesn’t look like us.

“You leave your comfort zone and you learn about the issue, not by reading about it in the news or on social media, but by listening to the voices of those directly affected.”

Kathryn Rodriguez shares what she’s learned from 15 years working on border, immigration, and human rights issues. Making lasting change must involve listening, understanding and being willing to change your perspective and understand your own limitations, she says at TEDxCUNY.

“I think we are all ready to work together to change the world for the better — and do that now.”

At TEDxGallaudet, professor Beth Benedict shares lessons from her time working as an advocate for Deaf and hard of hearing children born to hearing families. As a community organizer, providing information that is “unbiased, comprehensive, and from individuals who have specialized knowledge” matters, she says, and she challenges all of us to gather that information on causes that move us.

“This need for us to stand in the shoes of others, to fight on each other’s behalf based on our shared and non-shared experiences is just as important today as it ever was.”

In a talk at TEDxClaremontColleges, former Texas senator Wendy Davis says if we want to make the world a better place, we need to support causes that may not affect us directly, but affect those around us.

“If you have money, make sure it does the right thing.”

Designer Ella Lagé is a climate change activist in Berlin, Germany. At TEDxHamburg, she shares how citizens can fight against policies that exacerbate the problem — and tackle global warming in surprising ways.

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