Jenna Richter
Oct 4, 2018 · 3 min read
A speaker rehearses for the TEDxCrenshaw event in 2017 (Photo: TEDxCrenshaw website)

Ripple Effect is the theme of this year’s sold out TEDxCrenshaw event, which highlights a variety of community leaders discussing important issues in South Los Angeles.

TEDxCrenshaw, a three-hour long event happening Oct. 6, is “designed to spread ideas, spark conversation, and address changes affecting South Los Angeles,” according to the event’s website. This years theme refers to the idea that positive actions can create a ripple of positive change throughout a community.

Zaneta J. Smith started the event in 2015, at a time when there were no TEDx Talks in South L.A. TEDx events, such as the one Smith has created, are independently organized under a free license granted by TED.

“I knew a lot of people who do great things in the community and so I knew they would be good for a TEDx platform,” Smith said.

TEDxCrenshaw has been running successfully and expanding ever since. The event sold out the 202 seats in the Cinemark Theater this year, matching 2017 ticket sales, Smith said.

The event will be hosted by Glenetta Turner-Pope, who spoke at the first event in 2015.

A variety of people are set to speak this year, ranging from a creative entrepreneur to a songwriter and motivational speaker:

  • Krischa D. Esquivel, an expert and author on education and early child care, will discuss her presentation “Treating Our Children Better. ”
  • Dana Hammond, a creative entrepreneur, will present his “Preparing Scholars for the Future of Work” talk.
  • Iddris Sandu, a 21-year-old innovator, will be talking about the future of technology in his presentation “Gen Z:Plan A.”
  • Rayo Cole, a songwriter and motivational speaker, will be discussing body image and eating disorders in her presentation “Hidden Secrets: Eating Disorders.”
  • Autumn Breon Williams, an engineer and education activist, will present “South Los Angeles to South Africa: The Physics of Changemaking.”
  • Chelsea Solomita, a user experience designer, will be discussing “Disruptive Design: The Cannabis Industry.”

The speakers are either from South L.A. or influence the area in some way, Smith said. Becoming a speaker is competitive. The TEDxCrenshaw speaker committee receives many applications every year and conducts in-person interviews to narrow down the pool of applicants and decide who will speak, Smith said.

Smith said she’s inspired by the Crenshaw/Baldwin Hills community, which she described as an “African American cultural hub.” The Baldwin Hills area is an affluent area in the South L.A. region and is often referred to as the “Black Beverly Hills.”

“I see people who look like me, I experience culture that is normal to me,” Smith said.

“The history and the people inspire me the most … Sometimes when people think about African Americans they think about a low socio-economic class, but that’s not the case.”

In the three years organizing the event, Smith said her favorite moment was when Niki Okuk’s talk was posted on the official TED website in 2016. Okuk, an entrepreneur and founder of RCO Tires, discussed the cooperative economy and the importance of becoming a business owner in her presentation. The video of Okuk’s talk now has more than a million views.

Although Okuk’s presentation is the only one that has been featured on the official TED site, many of the other speakers from TEDxCrenshaw were uploaded to the TEDx youtube channel which has 14 million subscribers, resulting in thousands of views on each video.

TEDxCrenshaw this year starts with a youth event at 10 a.m. where children from different churches, schools and groups will come together to discuss the ripple effect of unity.

Registration starts at 11 a.m. The event begins at 12 p.m. and will go until 2:30 p.m.

Follow @intersectionssouthla on Instagram and @southlareport on Twitter to see our live coverage of the event.

Intersections South LA

News and views from South Los Angeles.

Jenna Richter

Written by

USC Annenberg

Intersections South LA

News and views from South Los Angeles.

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