playlist

Talks to help you understand social justice

Want to join the fight for equality? A starter pack of TED Talks for those looking to understand the basics of social justice.

  1. 18:49
    Kimberlé Crenshaw The urgency of intersectionality

    Now more than ever, it's important to look boldly at the reality of race and gender bias — and understand how the two can combine to create even more harm. Kimberlé Crenshaw uses the term "intersectionality" to describe this phenomenon; as she says, if you're standing in the path of multiple forms of exclusion, you're likely to get hit by both. In this moving talk, she calls on us to bear witness to this reality and speak up for victims of prejudice.

  2. 14:48
    Suzanne Barakat Islamophobia killed my brother. Let's end the hate

    On February 10, 2015, Suzanne Barakat's brother Deah, her sister-in-law Yusor and Yusor's sister Razan were murdered by their neighbor in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The perpetrator's story, that he killed them over a traffic dispute, went unquestioned by the media and police until Barakat spoke out at a press conference, calling the murders what they really were: hate crimes. As she reflects on how she and her family reclaimed control of their narrative, Barakat calls on us to speak up when we witness hateful bigotry and express our allyship with those who face discrimination.

  3. 12:04
    Jarrell Daniels What prosecutors and incarcerated people can learn from each other

    A few weeks before his release from prison, Jarrell Daniels took a class where incarcerated men learned alongside prosecutors. By simply sitting together and talking, they uncovered surprising truths about the criminal justice system and ideas for how real change happens. Now a scholar and activist, Daniels reflects on how collaborative education could transform the justice system and unlock solutions to social problems.

  4. 14:09
    Ione Wells How we talk about sexual assault online

    We need a more considered approach to using social media for social justice, says writer and activist Ione Wells. After she was the victim of an assault in London, Wells published a letter to her attacker in a student newspaper that went viral and sparked the #NotGuilty campaign against sexual violence and victim-blaming. In this moving talk, she describes how sharing her personal story gave hope to others and delivers a powerful message against the culture of online shaming.

  5. 4:19
    Sanford Biggers An artist's unflinching look at racial violence

    Conceptual artist and TED Fellow Sanford Biggers uses painting, sculpture, video and performance to spark challenging conversations about the history and trauma of black America. Join him as he details two compelling works and shares the motivation behind his art. "Only through more thoughtful dialogue about history and race can we evolve as individuals and society," Biggers says.

  6. 19:18
    Halla Tómasdóttir It's time for women to run for office

    With warmth and wit, Halla Tómasdóttir shares how she overcame media bias, changed the tone of the political debate and surprised her entire nation when she ran for president of Iceland — inspiring the next generation of leaders along the way. "What we see, we can be," she says. "It matters that women run."

  7. 14:21
    Heather C. McGhee Racism has a cost for everyone

    Racism makes our economy worse — and not just in ways that harm people of color, says public policy expert Heather C. McGhee. From her research and travels across the US, McGhee shares startling insights into how racism fuels bad policymaking and drains our economic potential — and offers a crucial rethink on what we can do to create a more prosperous nation for all. "Our fates are linked," she says. "It costs us so much to remain divided."

  8. 14:42
    J.D. Vance America's forgotten working class

    J.D. Vance grew up in a small, poor city in the Rust Belt of southern Ohio, where he had a front-row seat to many of the social ills plaguing America: a heroin epidemic, failing schools, families torn apart by divorce and sometimes violence. In a searching talk that will echo throughout the country's working-class towns, the author details what the loss of the American Dream feels like and raises an important question that everyone from community leaders to policy makers needs to ask: How can we help kids from America's forgotten places break free from hopelessness and live better lives?

  9. 16:05
    Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi An interview with the founders of Black Lives Matter

    Born out of a social media post, the Black Lives Matter movement has sparked discussion about race and inequality across the world. In this spirited conversation with Mia Birdsong, the movement's three founders share what they've learned about leadership and what provides them with hope and inspiration in the face of painful realities. Their advice on how to participate in ensuring freedom for everybody: join something, start something and "sharpen each other, so that we all can rise."

  10. 13:38
    Dan Gross Why gun violence can't be our new normal

    It doesn't matter whether you love or hate guns; it's obvious that the US would be a safer place if there weren't thousands of them sold every day without background checks. Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, makes a passionate, personal appeal for something that more than 90 percent of Americans want: background checks for all gun sales. "For every great movement around the world, there's a moment where you can look back and say, 'That's when things really started to change,'" Gross says. "For the movement to end gun violence in America, that moment is here."

  11. 15:01
    Liz Ogbu What if gentrification was about healing communities instead of displacing them?

    Liz Ogbu is an architect who works on spatial justice: the idea that justice has a geography and that the equitable distribution of resources and services is a human right. In San Francisco, she's questioning the all too familiar story of gentrification: that poor people will be pushed out by development and progress. "Why is it that we treat culture erasure and economic displacement as inevitable?" she asks, calling on developers, architects and policymakers to instead "make a commitment to build people's capacity to stay in their homes, to stay in their communities, to stay where they feel whole."