(Photo courtesy of Alessandra Nicole and the Office of Representative Kevin Hensley)
On May 16, 2017, at the invitation of House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst, we traveled to Legislative Hall in Dover. Our speakers were about to be recognized by state lawmakers and I was looking forward to what we could learn from this event.
Back in April, 18 speakers had given 17 TEDx talks at the first TEDxYouth@Wilmington Conference at Ursuline Academy. Legislators were kind enough to invite us to see them in action, and offer up props for doing what we do.
Here are my six takeaways from the visit. I hope to integrate them into my work as a TEDxWilmington assistant producer:
1. Delivering Value
- After giving a TEDx talk, it must be easier to step up to the mic. Our youth delivered a poised, brief address to enthusiastic legislators in the House.
2. Working Out Democracy
- We were not expecting to be invited — and recognized — in the state Senate afterward. When we entered the balcony we saw democracy in action. A civil yet rigorous debate on licensing fees. Simply observing the discourse provides an example of how to interact respectfully with others even when we don’t agree.
3. Celebrating Together
- In these divisive times it is encouraging to see leaders coming together on the things that matter most — our youth and their solutions. Legislators on both sides of the aisle were genuinely interested about the topics and accomplishments of these speakers.
4. Promoting Ideas Worth Spreading
- Not everyone is familiar with TEDxWilmington, so we took the opportunity to promote this emerging institution. Past TEDxWilmington Salons tackled issues such as prison reform, whistleblowing and religious tolerance. TEDxWilmington was first licensed in 2011 through the efforts of organizer Ajit George.
5. Enhancing Impact
- There were four adults from the TEDxWilmington tribe accompanying the students. Without exception we were thrilled to see such accomplished young people adding to their experience — because we know they will use their new awareness to help create a more just and civil future.
6. Making Room for You
- Our story is still unfolding — what’s your idea worth spreading? Enjoy our annual TEDxWilmington Aug. 16 at The Queen. You can get tickets for the big event here.