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10 great TED Talks by Hispanic and Latinx speakers for Hispanic Heritage Month

Sep 17, 2020 /

For Hispanic Heritage month, which runs from September 15 through October 15, TED partnered with The Mujerista to curate a playlist of their favorite TED Talks by Hispanic and Latinx speakers. For this list, they featured talks covering a diverse range of ideas from identity and personal growth to politics and immigration.

Isabel Allende: How to live passionately — no matter your age

Chilean author Isabel Allende shares how she plans to continue living passionately — even in her 70s. In this sincere and charming talk, Allende breaks down the aging process and how we all experience it differently. She describes what she has lost as a result of it and what she has gained.

Standout quote: “What have I gained? Freedom. I don’t have to prove anything anymore. I’m not stuck in the idea of who I was, who I want to be, or what other people expect me to be.”

José Andrés: How a team of chefs fed Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria 

Spanish-American and award-winning chef José Andrés founded the nonprofit World Central Kitchen with the mission to provide healthy meals in the aftermath of natural disasters. In the wake of Hurricane Maria in September 2017, Andrés traveled to the devastated island of Puerto Rico. Thanks to his organization and the support of chefs and thousands of volunteers from around the island, they organized makeshift kitchens to serve millions of meals. In this passionate and inspiring talk, Andrés shares the phenomenal story of how the heroic acts of many and the resiliency of the Puerto Rican people helped not only to feed the community, but lift it from despair.

Standout quote: “We kept going and people kept waiting for us, because they knew that we will always show up, because we will never leave them alone.”

Íngrid Betancourt: What six years in captivity taught me about fear and faith

Former Colombian senator and anti-corruption activist Íngrid Betancourt was kidnapped on February 23, 2002, by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). For six years, Betancourt was held hostage in prison camps deep in Colombia’s jungles and tortured. In this moving talk, Betancourt describes her time in captivity. She explains how it made her feel real fear — resulting in desperation, depression, paranoia, and hate — and how she learned to face fear and develop faith.

Standout quote: “[Faith is] what allows us to transform everything that we are — our weaknesses, our frailties — into strength, into power.”

America Ferrera: My identity is a superpower–not an obstacle

Actor, director and activist America Ferrera’s talk is a powerful call for more authentic representation of people and cultures in media. Ferrera takes us through her journey in Hollywood, sharing how her experiences led her to believe that her identity, brown skin, curls and background were obstacles. After years in the industry without seeing any change in who or what stories are told in the mainstream, Ferrera realized that she never asked the systems to change. She even believed what the systems believed about her — contributing to the system’s power to keep things in the industry the same. Ferrera challenges us to “stop resisting” who we are and “start existing” as our true selves.

Standout quote: “Collectively, we are what the world actually looks like. And in order for our systems to reflect that, they don’t have to create a new reality. They just have to stop resisting the one we already live in.”

Johanna Figueira: Simple, effective tech to connect communities in crisis

Venezuelan activist Johanna Figueira discusses her work with Code for Venezuela, a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing technologists and innovators together to address her country’s pressing needs for information, medicine and supplies. Their mission-driven platform brings simple but effective tech into Venezuelan communities to provide connections and information during times of crisis. Figueira shows how organizations like Code for Venezuela bring effective solutions, hold governments accountable, and bring hope to communities.

Standout quote: “Our most significant accomplishment is that a movement has been created, one where people around the world are coming together to use their professional skills to create solutions for the people of Venezuela.”

Elizabeth Camarillo Gutierrez: What’s missing from the American immigrant narrative

Mexican-American Elizabeth Camarillo Gutierrez challenges the American immigrant narratives that society typically promotes — the ”immigrant worker” and the “superimmigrant.” Gutierrez examines these narratives and compares them to the experiences she and her family have faced. She argues that both narratives are flawed and that viewing immigrants through these lenses can also adversely impact communities, families and individuals.

Standout quote: “I can’t claim to know where each and every one of you are on your journey through life, but I do know that our world is one that flourishes when different voices come together.”

Jorge Ramos: Why journalists have an obligation to challenge power

Mexican journalist and Emmy Award-winning author Jorge Ramos is regarded by many in Latin America as one of the most influential news anchors who is always challenging those in positions of power. In this thought-provoking talk, Ramos explains his journalism journey and his experiences with censorship in the industry. He recounts his infamous 2015 confrontation of then-candidate Donald Trump, where Ramos pushed back on Trump’s policies. Ramos advocates for journalists to challenge and confront the most powerful. He says their responsibility as journalists is to ask difficult and uncomfortable questions — even if it means breaking free from neutrality or becoming the enemy of those in power.

Standout quote: “The word ‘no’ is the most powerful word that exists in any language, and it always precedes any important change in our lives. There’s enormous dignity and it generates a great deal of respect to be able to step back and to push back and say, ‘No.'”

Gabby Rivera: The story of Marvel’s first queer Latina superhero

Bronx native Gabby Rivera is the author of Juliet Takes a Breath and the ground-breaking Marvel comic miniseries, America — Marvel’s first Latina LGBTQ character to lead a series. Rivera’s talk explores her childhood as a queer Puerto Rican from the Bronx and her creative thought process in developing the superhero character of America Chavez. We learn how Rivera’s own experiences and those of the women in her family played an influential role in the story of Marvel’s first queer Latina superhero.

Standout quote: “It’s in that space where softness and vulnerability meet strength that we transcend our everyday selves, that we become something greater, something majestic, maybe even something super.”

Rayma Suprani: Dictators hate political cartoons — so I keep drawing them

Award-winning satirist and Venezuelan cartoonist Rayma Suprani uses cartoons to speak out against corruption, injustice and repression. In 2014, she was dismissed by the Venezuelan newspaper El Universal for a cartoon criticizing Hugo Chavez and the government’s healthcare system. Now in exile in Miami, Suprani’s humorous and introspective talk discusses how, for her, drawing cartoons is a form of resistance and representation of freedom.

Standout quote: “A political cartoon is a barometer of freedom in a country. That’s why dictators hate cartoonists and try to eradicate everything that involves humor as a mirror for social and political issues.”

Luis H. Zayas: The psychological impact of child separation at the US-Mexico border

Luis H. Zayas is a professor, social worker and psychologist. In this emotional talk, Zayas discusses his research into the psychological trauma impacting children separated from their families seeking asylum at the US and Mexico border. He explains how a child’s developing brain is damaged under prolonged and intense stress and describes the distressing behaviors he witnessed from young boys and girls who were detained. He ends by providing solutions to support and treat the children and families humanely.

Standout quote: “While we may differ on our approach to immigration, we should be treating children with dignity and respect. We should do right by them.”