By: Shamira McCray
FLORENCE, S.C. – TEDx Evans Street producer Darian Bethea said events such as the one held Thursday are important because it gets people out of their personal bubble and viewpoint and gives them a look through the eyes of others.
Eight performers and speakers presented at TEDx Evans Street on Thursday. The event was held at the Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing and Technology. Topics ranged from jazz music and fake news to cultural mindset and health care.
“You have doctors, you have students,” Bethea said. “Like today, we had bluegrass people and we had cloggers. We had (a) jazz band. All of these people sharing one stage, where in another arena, you might not get all these people in the same building on the same stage.”
Wilson High School student Rebecca Liu spoke Thursday about cultural mindset learning. She said in today’s society, everything is black and white and everyone must choose a side.
“You have to be for this political party or that political party,” Liu said. “Or you have to identify as belonging to one culture or another. There is no gray area. But what if we could compromise? What if we could take the best of both sides rather than having to choose?” Liu was born and raised in Florence. Her parents immigrated to the United States from Taiwan.
In America, Liu said, she is seen as Asian. But when she visits her grandparents in Taiwan, she sticks out as American.
“So who am I? Am I Asian or am I American?” Lieu said in her speech Thursday.
For many second-generation immigrants, creating a new cultural paradigm is their change agent.
“In my everyday life, I experience what I consider the best of both worlds,” Liu said. “I take the best of both cultures around me and use it to create my own personalized culture.”
Lake City Mayor Lovith Anderson Jr. was another one of the Pee Dee-area speakers at TEDx Evans Street. He spoke about how Lake City is now recognized on a world stage due to its change and remaining ageless.
Decades ago, Anderson said, Lake City was an agricultural community and grew crops such as tobacco, cotton, soybeans and green beans. In the early 1900s, Lake City was the “green bean capital of the world,” he said. But people began to leave the city as manufacturing and textile plants left.
Anderson even moved away from Lake City. He later returned, as many other are doing, he said. But in other to get more people into the city, Anderson said, people had to look at Lake City and figure out how they could get it back in shape.
“You’ve got to look at some basic things to make that happen,” Anderson said. “One is you need to have a vision. Second is you need to have some resources. Third is you need to have some faith and fourth is its going to take some hard work.”
Through vision and hard work, Lake City has transformed into what USA Today readers voted this year as the best small town cultural scene. Thousands of people from around the world visit Lake City each year for ArtFields, a nine-day art competition and festival. The city offers recreational activities for children, a senior center for senior citizens and Anderson said a new educational center is being built for students.
Other presenters and speakers at Thursday’s TEDx Evans Street included:
>> Capital City Clogging Company
>> Don Kausler Jr. – regional editor of the Morning News
>> Dr. Veeral Oza – advanced endoscopic gastroenterologist
>> Jennifer Ransaw Smith – Personal Elevation architech
>> Southern Bluegrass Band
>> South Carolina State University Jazz Band
Bethea said TEDx Evans Street will be held every year. He said several people apply to perform or speak at TED events.
TEDx is an international platform, Bethea said. Thursday’s event, the video being made from it and the performers and speakers will be watched by millions of people worldwide, he said.