TEDxJacksonville Conference “Embrace” Features National and Local Speakers in First TEDx Event at Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts

TEDx speakers to deliver live talks on medical research partnerships, mental health, confronting domestic violence, philanthropy, arts and more on Saturday, October 23 in Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., September 8, 2021 — TEDxJacksonville has announced its on-stage lineup of speakers and musical performers for TEDxJacksonville 2021, “Embrace,” on Saturday, October 23. “Embrace” will be the non-profit organization’s tenth conference, and the first TEDxJacksonville event to be staged at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts.

The conference will feature talks from eight speakers, musical and artistic performances, and interactive experiences for attendees. The conference is scheduled for 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. on October 23 — with tickets available to attend in-person at the T-U Center’s Terry Theater or virtually.

“The opportunity to return to a live event is one we’ve taken with care. That’s why we’re offering live tickets and a fully virtual ticket for attendees for the first time,” TEDxJacksonville organizer and executive producer Sabeen Perwaiz said. “We’re excited for these speakers and the expertise they’re bringing to our stage and a TEDx audience around the world.”

Tickets are $99 (in-person) and $59 (virtual). Student tickets are $79 (in-person) and $39 (virtual). If you will be attending in person and would like to order a lunch, catered options will be available from The Bread & Board for $15 per person. CLICK HERE for more details and to buy tickets.

This Year’s Conference Theme:

For too long, it’s what we haven’t been able to do.
Its stand-ins — virtual hugs, air kisses over Zoom, smiles beamed to satellites before they can be seen — have been woefully inadequate in the face of so much loss, disruption, and grief.

But over the last 18 months, we’ve learned that “embrace” is about more than just holding someone close.
It’s the act of holding one another up, of leaning in, of creating space to be heard and drawing on our shared strength to power necessary change.

As we rebuild, let’s embrace new opportunities. To hold. To accept. To connect. To discover. To acknowledge different truths. To be honest about where we are, and work together toward something better: a more resilient and equitable world where each of us can thrive.

Embrace today. Create tomorrow.

2021 Conference Speakers and Topics:

What’s In a Name? Deyona Burton, Jacksonville — Why should a 21st-century, predominantly Black student body be forced to honor as its namesake the commander of the Confederate Army? Deyona Burton, the senior class president of Robert E. Lee Senior High School (now Riverside High), asks that and answers with insights into the renaming efforts and the backlash students faced. She issues a call to action to give youth a seat at the table.
America’s Workplace Mental Health Crisis: Dawn Emerick, EdD, Jacksonville — The American workplace is in the midst of a mental health crisis, one exacerbated by COVID-19, which has impacted each member of the workforce in unique ways. Dawn Emerick, Ed.D believes we need a mental health revolution — one that starts with all of us demanding trauma-free leadership and a safe workplace culture.
Violence Is Not Inevitable: Nicol Headley, Jacksonville — As a survivor of 30 years of abuse, Nicol Headley knows what it’s like to live in and through domestic violence. October is Domestic Violence Awareness month, and it’s past time to examine how the blows issued behind closed doors are felt throughout our communities. Headley wants us to lift the feelings of shame and find community solutions that allow us to work together to stop the violence before it ever starts.
Building Patient Research Partners: Delaney Liskey, Virginia Beach, Virginia — Delaney was diagnosed with pediatric-onset multiple sclerosis (MS) when she was 11 years old — a rare form of a commonly diagnosed disease. Today, as a graduate student in the inaugural class of the Regenerative Sciences Ph.D. track at the Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Delaney is passionate about empowering patients to become researchers of their own conditions. Providing patients with the platforms to learn experimental skill sets can lead to substantial contributions towards research into their own disease.
• Philanthropy Must Be Decolonized: Michelle Ramos, JD, PhD, New Orleans — Our systems of giving are broken. The “giving architecture” of American philanthropy — knowingly or not — lifts up and doubles down on entrenched privilege and power, contributing significantly to the disparity of funding allocations in the non-profit sector. Dr. Michelle Ramos calls for a shift to what philanthropy should have been all along — a resource for all, not just for some, and a force for good that shares money and control equitably
• Changing the World One Story at a Time: Vishavjit Singh, New York City — Narratives built around our perceived differences are tearing us apart. But healing begins with acknowledging our own vulnerability to bias and prejudice. Accepting this truth opens us to learnings, unlearnings, and choices we get to consciously make toward becoming a better version of who we are. Vishavjit Singh uses storytelling as a tool to create space for challenging conversations, and turn our vulnerability towards bias and prejudice into personal innovation, courage and compassion.
• Know Pain, Know Gain: LaTonya Summers, PhD, Jacksonville — As a species, we’ve become adept at avoiding pain. We repress it with medications, dull it with alcohol, food, shopping and other crutches, and even deny that it’s a lived reality for others. We used to know pain as a great teacher, but somewhere along the way we internalized that it was not OK to hurt. Dr. LaTonya Summers, a mental health therapist, argues that acknowledging pain is not only necessary, but also the conduit to greatness. We must relearn how to hurt if we want to live our best lives.
Advancing Equity through the Arts: Sara Ting, Boston — Sara Ting has dedicated her life to advancing the power of poetry. Poetry, she believes, does what little else can. Whereas laws and policies cannot remove prejudices or biases from one’s mind or heart, poetry can empower people to become more self-aware of their biases without judgment and forge a deeper connection with our shared humanity.

2021 Performers:

• Bronero, Jacksonville — Musician, keyboardist and producer Bronero is a solo, electronic music artist combining the energy and sophistication of hip-hop and jazz, performed live with an array of analog synthesizers, drum machines, samplers and keyboards. By spontaneously mixing technology with instrumental prowess, Bronero is able to create, in real-time, a complete musical narrative of rhythm and melody akin to both DJ sets and jazz improvisation. Combine pianistic elements with deep synth bass, blazing leads and thoughtful, historically aware lyrical samples, and you get the powerful mixture at the heart of the Bronero sound.
Good Pluck Trio, Jacksonville — In 2020, Good Pluck Trio was formed by Millie Hudson, Joe Henderson and Alex Downs. The group performs an array of genres ranging from classical to jazz to pop. Currently, GPT performs throughout Jacksonville at various venues. GPT released its first original single “You Got That Sunshine” in August 2021; it is available on multiple platforms.

Keeping You Safe

The safety and comfort of our TEDxJacksonville family is our top priority, so we’re doing everything we can to welcome you back safely. We are working diligently to create a hybrid event that will allow those who wish to attend in person the opportunity to do so, while also presenting a virtual experience for those who prefer that format.

We will be following CDC health and safety guidelines for in-person events. Since Jacksonville is currently an area of substantial COVID transmission, to maximize protection from the Delta variant we will be requiring that all in-person attendees wear masks, regardless of vaccination status. Seating will be socially distanced, and the audience will be limited to 250 attendees, half the Terry Theater’s capacity.

Additionally, there are over 50 high-grade MERV-13 air filters throughout the building that are checked and changed regularly. For those who’ve ordered lunch, catered lunch boxes will be distributed in a COVID-safe manner. Hand sanitizer stations will be located throughout the lobby area. Additional information about the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts COVID safety protocols may be found here: https://www.jaxsymphony.org/about/safety-protocols/.


Will facemasks be required? Yes, per CDC guidelines, masks will be required inside the theater and the building.

Seats will be socially distanced and only parties purchasing tickets together will be seated together.

Are there ID or minimum age requirements to enter the event? No. Some talks may deal with sensitive and personal subject matters, that may not be appropriate for all ages. Discretion is advised.

Will food be available? In-person attendees can pre-order boxed lunches for $15 from The Bread & Board, located on the ground floor of the Vystar Building, a short stroll from the Times-Union Center. Boxed lunch options include a choice of sandwich (sweet tea turkey, applewood ham & brie, seasonal chicken salad, or vegetarian chickpea & faro), a choice of side (orecchiette antipasti salad, blue cheese potato salad, fresh fruit salad, or mixed greens & herb salad), and a choice of beverage (water, sweet tea, or unsweet tea). All boxes include rosemary chips, a cookie, and wrapped utensils. You will have the opportunity to make your lunch selection when you register for the conference. The boxed lunches will be available for pickup at 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. at the Vystar breezeway, 76 S, Laura Street, where there is ample outdoor seating. Alternatively, carry your lunch to the riverwalk behind the Times-Union center and enjoy your meal along the water.

What are my transportation/parking options for getting to and from the event? There is no designated parking lot for this event. There are numerous parking lots is the vicinity of the Times Union Center. The cost of parking is your responsibility. We highly encourage carpooling and arriving early to ease congestion.

What can I bring into the event? Handbags are allowed, but are subject to security screening. No food or drink is permitted in the theatre. Videos cameras and flash photography are not permitted.

How can I contact the organizer with any questions? Email us at social@tedxjacksonville.com!

What’s the refund policy? All sales are final.

Do I have to bring my printed ticket to the event? Please do, but we can use a photo ID to verify

Is my registration fee or ticket transferable? You can transfer your registration to another person prior to 10/1/21.  Email us at social@tedxjacksonville.com with your receipt and the contact information that is receiving the ticket.

Is it OK if the name on my ticket or registration doesn’t match the person who attends? Only if they don’t mind wearing a name tag with your name on it.