TEDxJacksonville: Introducing the Speakers

October 18, 2014 2 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

TEDxJacksonville has picked an incredible group of people to speak at the TEDxJacksonville event.

How to Survive an Execution

Since 2010, playwright Herb Donaldson has written a series of works dealing directly with the history of Wakulla County, his hometown. He is a freelance writer for the Wakulla News, and host of the Wakulla Sunday Radio Program, and founder of the Palaver Tree Theater Company. His first book, ‘Southern SHOCK Americana: The Life and Execution of John Mills, Jr.,’ is the true life account of his uncle’s life on Florida’s Death Row. Yuhanna Abdullah Muhommad (a.k.a. John Mills, Jr.), was executed by the State of Florida on December 6, 1996 for a murder that many believe he was not guilty of. He has also authored three plays, all of which have been featured at numerous festivals, and was a writer for the short film, “Love Aquarium.”

Donaldson also serves as president for the Healing Arts of Wakulla County. He is project manager for their latest endeavor, Wakulla’s Working Waterfronts Photo Project, which received a Florida Division of Cultural Affairs grant to graphically document the lifestyles of the county’s maritime community.

1.Why did you apply to give a Talk at TEDxJacksonville?

I’ve been a fan of the TED Talks for a while. After writing the book, I began to look for talks that had a similar theme or subject. A friend, Agnes Furey, sent me a link to Bryan Stevenson’s 'We need to talk about an injustice.' On March 16, of this year, I posted Mr. Stevenson’s talk on our Southern Shock Americana Facebook site, stating: “I have been looking for inspiration and next steps regarding the book Southern Shock Americana. And now, I have found it.”  A few months later, someone read my book, saw the post, and suggested I apply for TEDxJacksonville. So, I did.

2.What is your favorite TED Talk?

Bryan Stevenson: We need to talk about an injustice
3.What does (un)knowing mean to you?

Correcting, or undoing, the (mis)education about the world we live in; re-shifting our thoughts about our place within that world; and renewing our collective spirit in an effort to change it.

4.What do you wish the world (or the city of Jacksonville) could (un)know?

That although we live in a society that nurtures violence from our living rooms, to our streets, and to our houses of worship, we do not have to be controlled by that violence, or give into it so readily that it becomes our first resort when seeking justice. If we could attempt to 'un-know' our thinking of how to respond to violence (and un-know our thinking about those who commit it), we might begin the true journey of knowing ourselves better. Maybe then we can honor our humanity in a worthier fashion.

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