Perspective, SXSW

SXSW 2017: I love you. I see you.

It always takes me a good week to recover from SXSW, to let everything absorb and settle into my system. This year, I took a little different approach. I didn’t want to get over scheduled on sessions, and instead, I wanted to take advantage of having access to Film and Music.

Originally, I had a number of the Interactive keynotes marked. And then I started swapping them out for big celeb sessions, like Game of Thrones. To my surprise, I ended up at sessions for politicians. I imagine the current political landscape influenced my decisions. 😉

Cory Booker

New Jersey US Senator Cory Booker was the opening Interactive keynote Friday morning. He gave an emotional address about what love is, how we treat other people and how we cannot be silent when injustice is happening.

His message resonated deeply with me as I’ve been on a journey of softening, rather than hardening, in my life. Love. Inclusiveness. Not turning the other cheek. Not merely tolerating people’s differences, but SEEING them as fellow human beings.

After Cory Booker’s session, I had intended to head straight to Mashable House – something that I’ve missed every year. But as I left the session, someone was handing out flyers to see former Texas state senator and Gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis across the street at the Hilton.

Wendy Davis

She spoke on a panel about gender parity and women in politics. It was uplifting to hear that there’s a huge uptick in interest among women wanting to run for office across the U.S and attending trainings for how to do so. They have many uphill battles to get past gender bias and will need the support of men feminists to do so.

I agree wholeheartedly in this point she made about motivating Democrats (or those who agree with Democratic agenda items) to vote and be heard. As a volunteer deputy registrar, it makes me so sad to hear that people don’t care about voting because they don’t think their vote counts for anything. It does! Especially at the local level.

Joe Biden

Vice President Joe Biden was a late addition to the SXSW schedule. I missed out on President Obama last year because attendance was done by lottery, and I wasn’t picked. For Biden’s session, we received a late night email about picking up a wristband Sunday morning. I hadn’t intended to make it downtown until after my noon class was finished, but I quickly set my alarm. It was also daylight savings, so I’d have to get up even earlier.

I arrived at 8:15 am, and the line had already started to wrap the building. Fortunately, I got a wristband and went on my merry way. By afternoon, I stood in line 90 minutes before his session to ensure I made it in the room and didn’t end up in the far back.

Vice President Biden announced his new initiative called Cancer Moonshot, which continues his work under Obama. Through urgency and the help of tech companies, Cancer Moonshot aims to accelerate cancer research and facilitate collaboration among research institutions. Amazon donated cloud storage to allow sharing of research data across the globe, which has been accessed 80 million times worldwide.

His passionate appeal that this is a technology problem and not a cancer problem was both emotional and enlightening. Cancer has touched too many loved ones. Through continued research and collaboration, Biden hopes to see children vaccinated for cancer the way they are for measles. I can certainly get on board with that.

I missed the Game of Thrones session to be at Biden’s. I regret nothing. We need strong leaders to guide us back to sanity, to love, to humanity, to tackling the real problems of the world. I felt encouraged and uplifted, rather than the constant doom and gloom every time I see news headlines.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...