A woman gets invited to speak at a TEDx conference on food justice. TEDx rescinds the invitation for some dubious reasons. The woman understandably gets upset. And then she starts her own conference. On the same day. Tomorrow…
And a tremendous one at that. Tanya Fields, a Bronx woman who started an organization called The BLK ProjeK which, among other things, promotes food justice, healthy eating, urban farms and set up a local food share. And tomorrow, instead of speaking at TedxManhattan, she has organized her own event, called Not Just Talk, in the Bronx, one which will be inclusive instead of exclusive and will touch on many issues related to food, race, class, privilege and power which often go overlooked.
I actually received a copy of Fields’ open letter which expressed her initial disappointment at being disinvited from the TEDxManhattan event. And my first reaction was that TED as an organization is exclusive, not really open to those outside of certain demographics (read: white, upper class) and is largely a bastion of privilege. Therefore, I was more surprised that someone like Fields, who I respect deeply would be so taken aback by their decision as opposed to being surprised by the decision itself. I felt her pain and disappointment for sure, but at the same time, thought to myself, she doesn’t really need TED to get her powerful message out to those who need to hear it and are receptive to doing so.
And then she went and did what so many talk about (myself included) but don’t have the courage to do, and created her own event (on ridiculously short notice mind you), pulled together a compelling list of speakers, all while speaking truth and starting conversations related to some really difficult subjects. Through an initially disappointing setback which she has turned into a positive, Fields not only opened more eyes in the food community to the very issues she was going to raise at TEDxManhattan than she would have if she were to have been a speaker, but at the same time, she’s providing an inspiration to many others within the community she serves on having impact through truth.
And after you do that, make sure to buy your tickets for tomorrow to Not Just Talk here.
Hopefully, I’ll see you there.
Have a Fantastic Friday everyone!