5 Seriously Incredible TED Talks Every Latina Should See

If you’ve never heard of TED Talks, here’s what you need to know: influencers, academics and all-around smarty pants give speeches (usually under 20 minutes) that are designed to be “ideas worth spreading.” The nonprofit hopes to shape new ideas and thinking around a myriad of different topics and industries – and help audience members rethink they way they see the world. Here are 5 amazingly brilliant talks every Latina should watch:

1. Isabel Allende: Tales of Passion

The Chilean author talks about femininity, feminism and making the world a better place – all with biting wit. “Women and children, especially the poor, are at the bottom. Even the most destitute of men have someone they can abuse -- a woman or a child. I'm fed up with the power that a few exert over the many through gender, income, race, and class.

I think that the time is ripe to make fundamental changes in our civilization. But for real change, we need feminine energy in the management of the world. We need a critical number of women in positions of power, and we need to nurture the feminine energy in men. I'm talking about men with young minds, of course. Old guys are hopeless; we have to wait for them to die off.” [laughter]


2. Looks Aren’t Everything. Believe Me, I’m a Model

Cameron Russell examines her own privilege and legacy that has given her influence, including skin color and heritage, and also examines the power of image on success and failure.

“So when I was writing this talk, I found it very difficult to strike an honest balance, because on the one hand, I felt very uncomfortable to come out here and say, "Look I've received all these benefits from a deck stacked in my favor," and it also felt really uncomfortable to follow that up with, "and it doesn't always make me happy." But mostly it was difficult to unpack a legacy of gender and racial oppression when I am one of the biggest beneficiaries.”


3. Greening the Ghetto

Majora Carter talks about her fight for environmental justice in the Bronx, and how minority neighborhoods suffer from flawed urban policy.

“Environmental justice, for those of you who may not be familiar with the term, goes something like this: no community should be saddled with more environmental burdens and less environmental benefits than any other.

Unfortunately, race and class are extremely reliable indicators as to where one might find the good stuff, like parks and trees, and where one might find the bad stuff, like power plants and waste facilities. As a black person in America, I am twice as likely as a white person to live in an area where air pollution poses the greatest risk to my health. I am five times more likely to live within walking distance of a power plant or chemical facility -- which I do. These land-use decisions created the hostile conditions that lead to problems like obesity, diabetes and asthma.


4. Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO and author of Lean In, looks at why we have so little women in positions of power. Latinas hold only one percent of positions of power, though we make up 10% of the population.

“I have a five-year-old son and a two-year-old daughter. I want my son to have a choice to contribute fully in the workforce or at home, and I want my daughter to have the choice to not just succeed, but to be liked for her accomplishments.”


5. Color Blind or Color Brave?

Finance executive Mellody Hobson talks about the need to talk about race, especially when it comes to diversity of hiring, if we want a better business and society.

“And it's because of those words that I stand here right now full of passion, asking you to be brave for the kids who are dreaming those dreams today. 

You see, I want them to look at a CEO on television and say, "I can be like her," or, "He looks like me." And I want them to know that anything is possible, that they can achieve the highest level that they ever imagined, that they will be welcome in any corporate boardroom, or they can lead any company.

I'm asking you not to be color blind, but to be color brave, so that every child knows that their future matters and their dreams are possible.”