Upcoming TEDxUNC Conference Centers on Human Body

The next TEDx conference will take place this Saturday at UNC. The event is similar to a TED Talk you might have seen online, speakers will give talks on variety of topics, sharing their experiences and innovative ideas. This year’s conference will center on the theme of the human body.

Ashita Gona is one of the curators of TEDxUNC.

“One committee member came up with the theme of bodies and the more we thought about it the more we realized it was relevant to the community,” said Gona.

Gona said the theme encompassed the different aspects of the human body that are studied at UNC, like medicine and the humanities.

“We have everything from artistic expression, to athletics, to LGBTQ issues, issues surrounding addiction and eating disorders,” said Gona.

The conference will also feature student speaker, Sarah McShane. McShane won a contest between UNC students to speak at the event.

Her topic is birth and death and our fear to talk about them.

She said her inspiration comes from a doula course she was taking at UNC hospitals to provide support for women giving birth, while at the same time dealing with the death of her father.

“I was learning what it means to give support at the same time I was learning how I most needed support,” said McShane.

During her work as a doula, McShane said she realized how many women were afraid to give birth because of the unknown of the experience.

“I found these incredible crossovers between the birth experience and the death experience and how much fear is involved,” said McShane.

In her talk, McShane will explain how empathy can be more helpful during birth and death than giving advice on how to deal.

“I think there are a lot of parallels with that through the death experience, especially from the family member’s perspective of not really knowing what to look for or what death is like,” said McShane.

The event is free and open to the public. Gona hopes the talks will ignite some interests in the community.

“We really hope that this event sparks interesting conversations, and we would love for as many people as possible to be a part of it,” said Gona.

TedxUNC will take place from noon until six this Saturday at Memorial Hall on UNC’s campus.


This is the Age of Too

Dear Editor,

This is the age of “Too.”  Too many demands – from kids, work, relationships, finances, health; even global events pushed on us via instant media. So we learn to compartmentalize. To pick and choose the battles.  To decide what piece of us we have to carve out for that next grasping hand.  Somewhere on that list, there are the philanthropies whether in money or in time. With the economic recession, many of us have had to whittle those kindness to the bone.  We’ve had to toss out envelopes with pictures of skeletal children, puppies shivering in fear, or the sounding of environmental catastrophes.  We are in the “learn to say no” stage of survival.  I get it.  I’m too am struggling to find some footing in my personal financial quagmires with the loss of a job, possibly a home and being more than just a little afraid.

Then,  I made the mistake of taking some down time to listen to Lisa Kristine on TED.com.  I made the mistake of seeing, of listening, of feeling.  Now, I cannot compartmentalize this new reality.  I cannot justify inaction.  This amazing documentation of 21st century slavery is a brutal assessment of our values-an indictment of the loss of humanity for all our nations.  The images and the words are seared in my conscience and my heart, for that is what happens when you see, hear and feel Hell. Yet, somehow in that writhing inferno, I also saw true beauty, resilience, determination and good. I learned there are those brave enough to battle real monsters; no unrealistic happily ever afters, but dogged, systematic changes that brings hope for 27 million slaves around the world, around the corner. 

Nineteen minutes and twenty-two seconds. That is the time it will take for you to bear witness to one of the most important truths of our times.  Twenty seven million men, women and children who have never known anything other than suffering,  is counting on you to donate nineteen minutes and twenty-two seconds of your time.  If at the end, you choose to give five dollars, to write another letter to the editor, to sponsor a fundraiser in your school, or to just put your struggles in perspective, you will have changed.  Your burdens will be lighter.  Your love of your family stronger. Your gratefulness will abound.  Please. Bear witness.

Mae L. Arant