x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Beyond the Surface

This event occurred on
May 21, 2017
8:00am - 3:30pm PDT
(UTC -7hrs)
San Diego, California
United States

Beyond the surface of fences and walls, TEDxDonovanCorrectional represents an expression of ideals, thoughts and emotions that collectively have the power to expand hearts, transform minds and liberate spirits.

In the spirit of world-renowned TED Talks, TEDxDonovanCorrectional – a unique gathering focused on inspiration, transformation and interaction – will take place at Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility on Sunday, May 21, 2017. The process of organizing TEDxDonovanCorrectional has fully engaged the prison inmate population. A Core Team of ten inmates is strategizing, planning, and facilitating the event from beginning to end, supported by a group of local TEDx volunteers. The independently organized event, licensed by TED, will feature a broad spectrum of TEDx Talks under the theme “Beyond the Surface.”

“Beyond the Surface” is a journey into the unseen! This theme demands of us to participate in a mind-altering interaction that will challenge perceived notions, uproot entrenched biases and soften hardened stereotypes. Our intent is to scratch the surface of what may be beyond our existing perceptions and take our hearts to places we never knew existed. The possibilities are endless.

We will also explore what’s beyond the surface of the invisible forces holding our universe together, the depths of unexplored worlds, as well as the intricacies of interpersonal dynamics and more.

Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility
480 Alta Road
San Diego, California, 92179
United States
Event type:
Standard (What is this?)
See more ­T­E­Dx­Donovan­Correctional events


Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Beto Vasquez

"I am currently finalizing my graduate studies at University of California, San Diego in biology. My background in the sciences has made me a champion for diversity in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM); while my incarceration and education have caused me to advocate for underserved and currently and formally incarcerated people in an effort to address barriers to success."

Billy Johnson

"I see myself as caring, earnest, loyal and full of life. I want to bring happiness to a person’s day. If I notice someone isn’t happy or feeling well, I want to make him smile. I find joy and passion in team settings; I love to work with others. What got us where we’re at does not need to define us. I love sports and working out."

Eric Genuis

"The world is a better place when people have hope. Within every person, young or old, rich or poor, is a need for beauty, which makes us human and allows hope to flourish. I create music to touch the heart and soul. I perform my works from concert halls to prisons in order to inspire and awaken hope in everyone."

John Schimmel

"Education is my passion. Pursuing my Associate Degree was my way of believing in myself. This gave me something to be proud of for the first time. It feels good to inspire others to do the same, especially for those who feel like there is no hope. I received four Associate Degrees here in prison in 3 ½ years. For the first time ever in my life, I see that I can be someone."

Lionell Tholmer

"Born in Northern California, I was raised on a farm and rode in rodeos. I like motorcycles and horseback riding. I am a seeker who believes the purpose of life is to serve humanity with unconditional love. Harvesting hearts reap rewards of immeasurable value. To be allowed to be a visitor of one’s heart is the greatest blessing."

Marcia Hale

"I am an explorer living for moments when my heart opens in new ways – unknown depths most often found with people in conflict, theirs or our own. Harsh edges and razor blades can have a way of pounding or slicing out humanity. I instinctively fear these places, but am intuitively called back to their teaching grounds. My explorer loves new dimensions of understanding, and my soul is enlivened by the authenticity that is revealed."

Mario Torero

"I call myself an 'artivist,' passionately devoted to bringing color and socially conscious messages to the walls of communities, especially marginalized neighborhoods that are in dire need of self-expression. Through muralism, I see myself in service of the People, striving in bringing unity and healing through color, art and meaning."

Martin Huey

"I live by these two become better than I was yesterday and to make the best of my todays the worst of my tomorrows. I am passionate about the essence of life. If the world could see through my eyes, we would communicate through dance, and no matter how each of us were dancing, we would understand each other."

Scott Sargeant

"…a lifelong love of athletics, the outdoors and adventure… From the beauty of a sunset over the Pacific to the adrenaline rush of pushing my body beyond limits as an Olympic athlete, to physically recovering from heart-breaking devastation of being quadriplegic and going on to strive for new mountaintops, I’ve ridden big waves of the agony and ecstasy of my human experience."

Shelley Wright

"My love for astronomy started as a child. Combined with my passion for learning new things, I forged a career that focuses on building new instruments to observe the Universe. I conduct scientific experiments that search for signals from extraterrestrial intelligence. I encourage the science community and the world to join this pursuit, believing that finding other life in the Universe will greatly enrich our lives on Earth."

Stephen Davis

"Others say that I am a friend if you need a friend, I am someone they can trust and confide in, and that I am a mentor without knowing it. I am thankful for the friends and family who have supported me. Their faith in me is what has helped me to not give up since being incarcerated. I am passionate about education, self-help and reading. I am two classes away from receiving four Associate Degrees."

Organizing team

Fourmeaux du Sartel

San Diego, CA, United States


San Diego, CA, United States