playlist

Claim your independence

Brave, personal stories of people who make bold moves to claim a better life.

  1. 9:38
    Sue Austin Deep sea diving ... in a wheelchair

    When Sue Austin got a power wheelchair, she felt a tremendous sense of freedom — yet others looked at her as though she had lost something. In her art, she conveys the spirit of wonder she feels wheeling through the world. Includes thrilling footage of an underwater wheelchair that lets her explore ocean beds, drifting through schools of fish, floating free in 360 degrees.

  2. 12:15
    Hyeonseo Lee My escape from North Korea

    As a child growing up in North Korea, Hyeonseo Lee thought her country was "the best on the planet." It wasn't until the famine of the 90s that she began to wonder. She escaped the country at 14, to begin a life in hiding, as a refugee in China. Hers is a harrowing, personal tale of survival and hope — and a powerful reminder of those who face constant danger, even when the border is far behind.

  3. 9:10
    Zak Ebrahim I am the son of a terrorist. Here's how I chose peace.

    If you’re raised on dogma and hate, can you choose a different path? Zak Ebrahim was just seven years old when his father helped plan the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. His story is shocking, powerful and, ultimately, inspiring.

  4. 9:16
    Stella Young I'm not your inspiration, thank you very much

    Stella Young is a comedian and journalist who happens to go about her day in a wheelchair — a fact that doesn't, she'd like to make clear, automatically turn her into a noble inspiration to all humanity. In this very funny talk, Young breaks down society's habit of turning disabled people into "inspiration porn."

  5. 8:03
    Pearl Arredondo My story, from gangland daughter to star teacher

    Pearl Arredondo grew up in East Los Angeles, the daughter of a high-ranking gang member who was in and out of jail. Many teachers wrote her off as having a problem with authority. Now a teacher herself, she's creating a different kind of school and telling students her story so that they know it's okay if sometimes homework isn't the first thing on their minds.

  6. 19:17
    Caroline Casey Looking past limits

    Activist Caroline Casey tells the story of her extraordinary life, starting with a revelation (no spoilers). In a talk that challenges perceptions, Casey asks us all to move beyond the limits we may think we have.

  7. 15:16
    Kakenya Ntaiya A girl who demanded school

    Kakenya Ntaiya made a deal with her father: She would undergo a traditional Maasai rite of passage, female circumcision, if he would let her go to high school. Ntaiya tells the fearless story of continuing on to college, and of working with her village elders to build a school for girls in her community, changing the destiny of 125 young women.

  8. 18:05
    Charity Tillemann-Dick Singing after a double lung transplant

    You'll never sing again, said her doctor. But in a story from the very edge of medical possibility, operatic soprano Charity Tillemann-Dick tells a double story of survival — of her body, from a double lung transplant, and of her spirit, fueled by an unwavering will to sing. A powerful story from TEDMED 2010.