TEDxMcAllen returns to share ideas, celebrate culture

McALLEN — TEDxMcAllen will return Nov. 12 with the goal to amplify experiences and build connections between the community.

Marcos Silva, a counselor at IDEA Quest, is seen Tuesday, May 21, 2019, in McAllen. (Joel Martinez | jmartinez@themonitor.com)

The theme “We are DREAMERS” was chosen for the upcoming event after meetings with community leaders, educators and others, TEDxMcAllen organizer Marcos Silva said.

“McAllen (and the Rio Grande Valley) for a lot of people is the place where they start their American Dream, or have built their American Dream here, and as a community we are developing and we’re growing and a lot of that growth is based off of the dreams that we have and what we hope to envision this place to look like, to feel like,” Silva said.

The on-site event will be capped to about 100 attendees and an application to attend will be available online as the event date approaches, according to a news release. It will also be live-streamed at an off-site official watch party and for viewing remotely.

Starting June 16, TEDxMcAllen will officially accept nominations for speakers who will be selected from different backgrounds in order to offer varying perspectives.

TEDxMcAllen is independently produced and is operated under a license from TED according to the news release. Organizers are volunteers who want to provide a space for networking and sharing experiences, it stated. Silva holds the license to TEDxMcAllen.

At this point, organizers are still looking into how many speakers will attend, along with the location and time of the event, he said.

“We want to make sure that we can amplify voices and ensure that we can celebrate who we are as people and where we’re going … we’re looking for speakers who can share those stories and who can share their triumphs and how they got to where they are,” he said.
Silva said he was “left inspired” after attending the TEDxMcAllen event in 2015 and wanted to serve the community by sharing ideas.

He hopes this year’s event provides a strong connection to the community. The networking aspect of the event is important, but organizers are also looking to keep the “momentum” to go beyond that day, he said.

Silva, along with a former student, also created South Texas Ideas Festival to help create
an event where youth could reflect on their community and culture.

“It’s the human part of community organizing, or community development. It’s (the) ability to make something happen without something tangible, make somebody feel different… without (being) necessarily materialistic about it,” he said.

The Rio Grande Valley is home to a community of dreamers, Silva said.

“TEDxMcAllen will celebrate our stories, unique culture, and our realized and ongoing dreams,” he said. “We will continue to raise, inspire and support our dreams as a community.”