With 24,000 kids aging out of the US foster care system every year, if you don’t already know someone who grew up in foster care, it’s highly likely you will soon.
In fact, if you attend Ignite Seattle #40, it’s practically guaranteed. Karlos Dillard was raised in three-dozen different foster homes, and he’s joining us on October 3rd to share his story.
When he graduated from high school, Karlos’s past as a foster child meant communication problems that made it hard to hold down a job. It’s not until a manager finally asked “why?” that things started to turn around.
Join us at Town Hall on October 3 where Karlos will teach us how to be a Friend of a Foster Child. Tickets are on sale now.
I don’t have to do nothing but eat, drink, stay black, and die.
Langston Hughes, “Necessity”
Ashley McGirt has heard this sentiment repeated by her family since she was a child. Her grandmother’s take, “All I got to do is stay black and die” is particularly ingrained in her mind.
People of color die younger and at a higher rate, largely due to heart attacks, high blood pressure, and other cardiac problems. As Ashley says, “we are not dying well, and black people especially are not dying well.”
Ashley has a unique view into this problem as a licensed mental health therapist, and on October 3, she’ll share what she’s learned about this inequity in death, and how to die well.
In 2018, Sarah went on record publicly with her own #MeToo story as part of an article by Molly Redden of the Huffington Post. Her talk was about the logistics of telling a #MeToo story publicly, along with the potential ramifications both personally and professionally.
In the podcast, we talk about why Sarah decided to come forward with her story publicly to begin with. How her perspective has changed about her story over time, and what motivates her to keep going.
With a title like “Exploring the 8th Continent,” the geographically-inclined among us are certain to be interested. There are, after all, only seven continents. Right?
Not so, according to Cindy Wu. Cindy says there’s a mysterious continent below all of our feet: caves.
Stepping into a cave, according to Cindy, is like being an astronaut stepping onto the moon for the first time. In her talk, Cindy tells the story of her first time exploring a cave, and how our audience can safely explore caves themselves.
Sam Blackman started his professional life as a philosophy major, but the fact that he spent his nights reading medical journals might have been a clue to where his career would end up.
The thing in those journals which fascinated Sam? The case studies — stories with the (often gory) details of the treatment of a patient, in a narrative format.
In his Ignite talk, Sam explains why this sort of storytelling makes medicine work, makes a case for the humanity of medicine, and urges us not to lose track of storytelling as medicine increases its reliance on technology.
Twenty-two years after completing mandatory military service — and approaching the age of fifty — Urs Koenig decided to enlist in the military peacekeeping force KFOR in Kosovo.
Many readers may be wondering, “Why does Kosovo need a peacekeeping force at all?” By the time he deployed, Urs thought he knew the answer. Until he watched a school play which made him reconsider not only what he knew about the war, but also the role of peace-keepers.
In his Ignite Seattle talk, Urs explains how his time as a military peacekeeper taught him to ask better questions, and how that can make us all a little more humble.
“So who in here has absolutely just fucked up before?” That’s the question Sydney Swonigan started off with during her Ignite Seattle talk. (Judging from the audience reaction, the answer was: a lot of us.)
In her talk, Sydney discusses the time she fucked up: accidentally becoming pregnant shortly after graduating college. (“#whoops-a-daisy”) After years of striving to overcome the stereotypes placed on young black women, she found herself worried about becoming stuck in a negative narrative of a single black mother. She didn’t want to just survive, she wanted to slay.
In her talk, Sydney talks about her experience deciding not to choose between being a mother and a leader, owning her own story, and why there’s no better time than today to fuck up.
With a single statement, “Juliet wasn’t dumb.” you know who Emma Broback is talking about. Her talk challenges popular misconceptions about one of Shakespeare’s most famous characters.
Far from the passive, reckless, dumb teenager we’re taught she was, Emma shows how Juliet was a strong, independent woman who was an intellectual equal – if not superior – to the other characters in the play.
Juliet had agency. She had wit. And if it wasn’t for Italy’s favorite “golden retriever of a boy”, Romeo, she would have had the world.
Some people need crystal balls to see into the past or predict the future – but not Elisa Bonnin. She just needs seashells. Well, seashells and an almost-PhD.
Elisa expertly explains to an audience of non-PhDs how she uses microscopic seashells from animals called Foraminifera to uncover the history of ocean acidification, temperature change, sea level rise, and ice ages for the last million years.
It doesn’t matter how long it’s been since your last chemistry class – if you want to learn about some science, Elisa is ready to teach you.
After Rovina Broomfield moved from Chicago to Seattle to start working at a large tech company, she wanted to become part of the local community. As she’d meet people, though, many would start by expressing their surprise at, well, a black woman moving to Seattle and working in tech. One day, at a brunch, she heard another black woman in tech describe herself as a “unicorn,” and decided she’d had enough.
When we see someone who is, as Rovina puts it, “a rare, or an only”, she asks that we realize: they know they’re rare. They pushed through that and decided to act, despite having few role models. But throughout history, many people had to start as an “only.”
Instead of focusing on their uniqueness in our community, we need to focus on making them part of our community. Like a transplant who’s just moved to a new city, people who are rare need to feel welcome and cool, not rare and untouchable. So, you’re black in tech? As Rovina puts it, “let’s go from being transplants to being locals.”