By Megan Moore
BU News Service
TEDx Jamaica Plain hosted its inaugural event Saturday at the First Church of Jamaica Plain.
TEDx conferences are different than TED events. TEDx is a program focused on local and self-organized events that aim to bring people together and share a TED-like experience. For TEDx Jamaica Plain, this experience was a combination of live speakers and prerecorded TEDTalks focusing on a theme of joy and purpose.
TEDxJP was organized by people from the JP community and featured speakers from it as well. More than 20 speakers were scheduled to speak at this year’s event.
Annie Malan, partnerships director for TEDxJP, said the event’s planners were looking for people who hadn’t had a platform to share their story.
“The whole idea is ‘ideas worth spreading,’ and we found that the people who had a really interesting idea but weren’t super vocal about it and hadn’t shared that idea on other stages were our most interesting candidates,” Malan said.
The event’s emcee was Charlie Rose, founder of the Bella Luna Restaurant & Milky Way Lounge in Jamaica Plain and of other service organizations throughout the community.
“I’m very happy to be a semicolon or a comma in this love letter to Jamaica Plain,” Rose said.
Casey Carey-Brown, an LGBTQ parent blogger, editor and writer, kicked off the speakers for the day.
“If knowledge is power then perhaps it is when we are powerless that we are transformed,” Carey-Brown said.
Other speakers at the event included Kate Layte, owner of Papercuts J.P., who encouraged audiences to “read dangerously”; Chuck Collins, co-founder of the Jamaica Plain Forum, who spoke on bringing wealth home; Edith Murnane, Office of Food Initiatives, who said being a food romantic brings forth community, and many others.
According to Malan, most guests in attendance came from the Jamaica Plain area but many brought others from outside areas. She said it was exciting to see how many people came out of the woodwork.
“I hope [the event] sparks conversation, and I hope people make new connections,” Malan said.
Sarah Valente, volunteer for TEDxJP, said that Jamaica Plain offers a variety of experiences like concerts, music festivals, restaurants and TEDxJP is a way to talk about improving joy and purpose throughout the community on a daily basis.
“I hope people who are coming from outside the community can see JP from another prospective, because as we have heard in the talks JP some years ago was really seen as violent place, unstable place, not very good place to live,” Valente said. “But currently, because we have so many events, we are a safer community and people can come here just to hang out.”
After the event, guests were invited to attend the TEDxJP after party at the Loring Greenough House with food from local restaurants and gaming experiences by Hasbro.