Ben Hoyer got on stage at the TEDx event held at the Winter Garden Theatre. He is the founder and director of Downtown Credo, a non-profit focused on improving the quality of lives in our nations cities. He works with people to cultivate networks of meaning, impact and community. Ben's credo is that individuals who want to improve their city can make a difference. He began, "Life is worth living. I refuse to merely exist. I pursue a life of meaning and purpose, fulfillment and joy. The world is not yet as it ought to be. Neither is my city. Neither am I. Yet, I reject apathy and despair. I engage the world, my city, and myself to make an impact for good. I am not alone. I press through narcissism, isolation and self-sufficiency striving to live in authentic community." He spoke of one act of community activism that challenged him. He was picking up trash in an empty lot with some people. One person said, "This lot will be full of trash again tonight, why bother?" Ben stressed that at least they did what they could. At one trash site the refuge was wet sticky and gross. In the back of his mind he thought, "Maybe I'll let this one slip by." The volunteer with him noticed the mess and then Ben worked up the courage to tackle the messy task. Alone he might have lacked the will, but together they accomplished what needed to be done.
The Power Point on the screen is actually from a presentation by Jessi Arrington. Jessi is a co-founder of Workshop, a Brooklyn based studio that merges design and social responsibility. In a fun presentation she outlined how she keeps her creative spark alive. She LOVES color! Her favorite color is rainbow. She stressed that it is physiologically impossible to be in a bad mood wearing bright red pants. To hammer her point home, Jessi placed bags full of colorful clothing on the stage. People from the audience were invited up to take part in a rainbow celebration. Some people already wore a bright color so they were sent to the bag containing more items in that color. Soon the stage was a riot of color. Feather boas, hats, shawls, skirts were all in solid colors of the rainbow. If your color was green, you were ALL green. The parade of people marched off the stage and into the audience to a lively march. If your going to live a creative life, live loud! I realized I was dressed in drab neutral earth tones. Perhaps I could use more color in my life, but that would involve an awful lot of shopping. I also refuse to loose my brown hiking boots. Function over fashion is my credo. What an amazing day spent with people who are each making the world a better, more colorful place, each in their own way.