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TEDx "Connecting Currents" In Jacksonville Offers Diverse Roster Of Speakers

You’ve probably heard of TED talks, those global conferences that feature speakers from the worlds of technology, entertainment and design. On a smaller, regional scale, there are independently-organized TEDx events.

One is planned for here in Jacksonville at WJCT, with a theme of “connecting currents.”

Hosted by Al Letson, creator and host of State of the Re:Union, the event promises to offer awe-inspiring presentations from a diverse selection of industry leaders and artists. 

WJCT's Michelle Corum spoke with TEDx Jacksonville Executive Producer Sabeen Perwaiz and organizer Doug Coleman for more on the upcoming event.

Here are the speakers scheduled for TEDx Jacksonville on October 26:

Barbara Colaciello is an actor, playwright, storyteller and educator with credentials that include a 6-year stint with Andy Warhol at Interview Magazine and, most recently, Players by the Sea in Jacksonville Beach. She has developed programming for children with learning disabilities and, through humor, music and storytelling, will share her ideas and discoveries.

Hank Coxe is a former special prosecutor for the Florida State's Attorney's office and a partner State of Florida. Coxe takes issue with the way youth are being imprisoned, believing it to be fundamentally contrary to a truly civilized society, and will advocate his perspective.

Bruce Ganger is the Executive Director of Second Harvest North Florida, an organization that rescues and distributes almost 24 million pounds of food throughout North Florida to those individuals struggling to feed themselves and their families. It is Ganger's belief that a lack of access to healthy and nutritious foods is at the core of our community's most pressing issues.

Robert Inglis is a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives with the distinction of being uninvited to the Tea Party. He is currently the Executive Director of the Energy and Enterprise Initiative, a campaign focused on putting free enterprise to work on energy and climate change.

Aman Mojadidi is an American Southerner born to Afghan parents and a TEDGlobal Fellow. His globally recognized artworks embrace themes including belonging, identity politics, conflict and a resistance towards modernization. For TEDxJacksonville, Mojadidi will explore contemporary issues linked to racism, segregation and the struggle for civil rights in the American South.

Chevara Orrin is a Black/Jewish woman, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, wife, activist, and survivor with a very engaging story. She has spent the majority of her professional life in the nonprofit sector, creating initiatives and opportunities that bring communities closer together. Orrin will share the possibilities and power of simple human interaction.

Dr. Lawanda Ravoira is a national expert, advocate, author, researcher and trainer on the challenges facing girls in the juvenile justice system. She is leading the Justice for Girls Campaign, giving voice to girls and young women who are invisible to our communities. She will be sharing "lessons learned from a jail cell."

Matt Rutherford is the first person in history to complete a non-stop, single-handed, voyage around North and South America. In the wake of this accomplishment, he created the Ocean Research Project, a non-profit organization that helps scientists better understand the problems facing our oceans. In preparation for a two-month research effort in the Atlantic garbage patch, Matt will share insights and perspectives from his adventures.

Patricia Siemen is a Dominican Sister from Adrian, Michigan and a civil attorney licensed in the States of Florida and Michigan. Her passion is for the long-term ecological health and well being of current and future members of the Earth community - and how this gets expressed in law and governance structures.

Nancy Soderberg is a former UN Ambassador and White House adviser. When it comes to government, she is passionate about driving change at the local, state and national level. She also promotes a higher quality of leadership and champions transformation of world political systems.

Ben Warner is the President & CEO of Jacksonville Community Council Inc. (JCCI). Through this organization, Warner has worked on highly successful community engagement endeavors on three continents - all with the idea that for true democracy to work, individuals must take part in civic engagement.

Michelle Corum joined WJCT as "Morning Edition" host in 2012 and has worked in public broadcasting as an announcer and reporter for public radio stations in Lawrence, Kansas, and Interlochen, Michigan. She also manages WJCT's Radio Reading Service for sight-impaired listeners.