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Let’s Have a Conversation

TEDx is about conversations. We want people to talk, to share experiences and inspiration, to bounce ideas off one another, and to find commonalities between groups. In many ways, TEDx talks are conversations with the audience. Our speakers spend months working with catalysts, asking for feedback, and creating something that, while intensely individual, is also a product of a group dialogue. We hope that the talks at our conference spark conversations with others, sharing what you thought was good or bad, what could be better and what could be more. Our Adventures through Ideas in Action are shared experiences that we hope drive conversations that will grow those ideas into something even bigger. Conversation is what we’re about at TEDxBeaconStreet, and we want to spread that into the community.

We acknowledge that some conversations are harder than others. In 2014, Christie Smith told us how she hid the emotional trauma of having survived 9/11, and how having the “conversation across difference” – whether the difference is of race, class, trauma, or anything else – is necessary for creating environments where people can flourish. Verna Myers asked us to verbally confront racism when we hear it, to bring it out into the light and say, “We have an amazing country with incredible ideals, and we have made some progress, but we are not done,” and to talk about what we have left to do.

This year at TEDxBeaconStreet, we will hear from Lt. Col. Justin Constantine, a Marine combat veteran who is a driving force in the post-9/11 community and an advocate for veterans in the workplace. Justin is a fellow with the Truman National Security project, and he helps companies seeking to recruit veterans to do so effectively, to the benefit of both the veterans and the companies. Today, he wrote for the Washington Post about conversations with combat veterans. Many people find conversations with wounded warriors difficult to navigate, and Justin offers advice to readers: Don’t pity us, he says, and don’t ask us about PTSD. Ask us about our days, or chat about the weather, and don’t make promises or apologies. Justin presents these and other helpful tips, but the basic point is simple: “When in doubt, treat us like you would treat anyone else.”

Justin’s work with veterans and organizations, through the Wounded Warrior project and the Constantine Group, is of enormous importance and impact. He has written for the Financial Times, Men’s Health, and other publications before today. We very much look forward to hearing him speak in November, and having some good conversations.