TEDxJacksonville returned with its first live event in more than 18 months with its conference “Embrace” on October 23 at The Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts.
Eight speakers and two musical performers took the stage at the event, and the talks and performances were recorded to be shared by TED through their TEDx platforms to millions of followers and subscribers.
In her talk, Dr. LaTonya Summers, a mental health therapist, argued that acknowledging pain is not only necessary, but also the conduit to greatness. Summers makes the case that we must relearn how to hurt if we want to live our best lives — in her talk “Know Pain, Know Gain.”
Dr. LaTonya Summers is an award-winning assistant professor of clinical mental health counseling at Jacksonville University. There, she brings 26 years of clinical mental health and addictions counseling experience, and conducts research on multicultural issues in counseling and supervision. She has examined the impact of power, race, and gender on cross-racial interactions; natural hair bias and upward mobility in the workplace; clinical mental health needs of Black clients; and culturally specific professional development and service delivery to Black clients. Her work is featured in scholarly journals and at international and national professional conferences. She is the author of Multicultural Counseling: Responding with Cultural Humility, Empathy, and Advocacy, a textbook that will be released in 2022.
Summers founded the national annual Black Mental Health Symposium, a conference aimed to equip mental health professionals with culturally-specific skills to improve mental wellness in Black communities. She serves as the Immediate Past President of the Florida Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development. She serves the American Counseling Association as an appointee to its Black Male Experience Task Force, and the Research and Knowledge Task Force. Dr. Summers has been featured in O Magazine on the subject of authenticity in the workplace.
Deyona Burton, the last senior class president at what was Robert E. Lee High School (now with its name changed to Riverside High School), shared her talk, “What’s In A Name?”
Burton is now a first-year student at Florida State University, where she is majoring in Environmental Science and Policy and minoring in Urban and Regional Planning. Deyona is the Founder of SPEAR: Showing Political Engagement and Responsibility, a Jacksonville-based initiative dedicated to increasing youth civic engagement and youth voter turnout. After FSU, Deyona aspires to go to law school and return to Jacksonville to better her community.
In the talk, Burton asked why should a 21st-century, predominantly Black student body be compelled to honor as its namesake the commander of the Confederate Army? That question motivated her when in 2020 — when she and her classmates advocated to rename the school and gained national attention. Arguing that the Robert E. Lee name was “a constant reminder of the racism and hate” that haunts its students, Deyona offers insights into the campaign to gain community support, and also issues a call to action to give youth a seat at the table.
In her talk, Dr. Michelle Ramos brought a diversity of experience to her role as Executive Director of Alternate ROOTS and founder of Ramos Coaching. Her most recent experience includes working in criminal justice reform at the Vera Institute of Justice, philanthropic work as Program Officer for the Women’s Foundation of California, and service organization leadership on the boards of Dance/USA and Performing Arts Alliance. A licensed attorney with a PhD in Psychology, she has significant organizing experience and has committed her career to serving communities and individuals adversely impacted by issues of race, gender, disability, class, socioeconomics, inequitable laws, and systemic oppression. She has consulted for over 20 years nationally. Ramos’ talk is titled “Philanthropy Must Be Decolonized.”
In 2020, while live events were put on hold due to the pandemic, TEDxJacksonville produced a series of virtual events titled “Small Great Conversations on Racism,” featuring speakers who had given talks during the first nine years of the conference