Megan Phelps-Roper I grew up in the Westboro Baptist Church. Here's why I left
What's it like to grow up within a group of people who exult in demonizing ... everyone else? Megan Phelps-Roper shares details of life inside America's most controversial church and describes how conversations on Twitter were key to her decision to leave it. In this extraordinary talk, she shares her personal experience of extreme polarization, along with some sharp ways we can learn to successfully engage across ideological lines.
Rich Benjamin My road trip through the whitest towns in America
As America becomes more and more multicultural, Rich Benjamin noticed a phenomenon: Some communities were actually getting less diverse. So he got out a map, found the whitest towns in the USA — and moved in. In this funny, honest, human talk, he shares what he learned as a black man in Whitopia.
Dylan Marron Empathy is not endorsement
Digital creator Dylan Marron has racked up millions of views for projects like "Every Single Word" and "Sitting in Bathrooms With Trans People" — but he's found that the flip side of success online is internet hate. Over time, he's developed an unexpected coping mechanism: calling the people who leave him insensitive comments and asking a simple question: "Why did you write that?" In a thoughtful talk about how we interact online, Marron explains how sometimes the most subversive thing you can do is actually speak with people you disagree with, not simply at them.
Arik Hartmann Our treatment of HIV has advanced. Why hasn't the stigma changed?
The treatment of HIV has significantly advanced over the past three decades — why hasn't our perception of people with the disease advanced along with it? After being diagnosed with HIV, Arik Hartmann chose to live transparently, being open about his status, in an effort to educate people. In this candid, personal talk, he shares what it's like to live with HIV — and calls on us to dismiss our misconceptions about the disease.
Theo E.J. Wilson A black man goes undercover in the alt-right
In an unmissable talk about race and politics in America, Theo E.J. Wilson tells the story of becoming Lucius25, white supremacist lurker, and the unexpected compassion and surprising perspective he found from engaging with people he disagrees with. He encourages us to let go of fear, embrace curiosity and have courageous conversations with people who think differently from us. "Conversations stop violence, conversations start countries and build bridges," he says.
Sally Kohn What we can do about the culture of hate
We're all against hate, right? We agree it's a problem — their problem, not our problem, that is. But as Sally Kohn discovered, we all hate — some of us in subtle ways, others in obvious ones. As she confronts a hard story from her own life, she shares ideas on how we can recognize, challenge and heal from hatred in our institutions and in ourselves.