Croydon and Hackney Part of Global TEDx Youth Day

Alex Jones, creator of English Disco Lovers. Pic: Veronique Dupont

Alex Jones, creator of English Disco Lovers. Pic: Veronique Dupont

On Saturday, Hackney and Croydon took part in TEDx’s fourth international youth day, a one-day conference held in different locations around the world aimed to bring communities together to help young people become the leaders of tomorrow.

Internationally, the event brought together 17,000 young people across 45 countries to mark Universal Children’s Day, an annual event promoting the welfare of children worldwide.

TED, a global organisation has attracted world leaders, like Bill Clinton, to talk about ideas to motivate change for the past 25 years.

TEDxCroydon and TEDxHackney both held day long events  at Hackney Wick’s Yard Theatre and Croydon’s Brit School For Performing Arts with a series of short motivational speeches delivered by successful performers, authors, poets, and social entrepreneurs from the community.

Speakers included 21-year-old Alex Jones, the creator of the English Disco Lovers, an anti-violence organisation whose goal is to “reclaim the ‘English Defence League’ acronym,” and Saci Lloyd, an award-winning writer and teacher at an inner-London sixth form college.

Organizer of TEDxCroydon, Elaine Powell, said: “The aim is really to shine a positive light on the youth of Croydon after all the negativity brought about by the riots in 2011. There are some fantastic kids and great talents in the borough that we want to encourage and inspire.”

EastLondonLines caught up with two of the speakers about motivating children and which TED talks have inspired them.


Youth Ambassador of Croydon, Rosina St. James

23-year-old Rosina St James, who lives and works in Croydon as a Youth Participation Support Worker is the former chair of the British Young Council and winner of the Rare Rising Star Award for black young people.

What is the message of your TED talk today?

“It is about leaving a legacy, being the best you can be and reaching your full potential. Basically, we all have the opportunity, especially the generation of today, to make an impact on our local communities and change the lives of the people close to us. Leaving a legacy is something we should all aspire to do.”

What makes TEDx special?

“TEDx is such an amazing platform for young people to spread their ideas. It is fantastic to see Croydon host an event of this magnitude to help spark that confidence and ambition to foster the Croydon leaders of tomorrow. A lot more could be done to engage the young people in the borough, so I am really happy to see TEDx launched in Croydon.”

Which is your favourite TED talk?

I have many. They have been a huge inspiration to me. One is Thandie Newton’s “Embracing otherness, embracing myself”.


Tokunbo Ajasa-Oluwa. Pic: Veronique Dupont

Tokunbo Ajasa-Oluwa. Journalist and founder of Catch 22. Pic: Veronique Dupont

Award-winning Hackney Social Entrepreneur, Onyi Anyado

32-year-old Onyi Anyado was born and bred in East London, and since going to university he has founded Onyi Anyadio Media House. He is a double award-winning entrepreneur who specialises in youth-work.

What is the message of your TED talk today?

“I will be speaking about entrepreneurship and my move from victim to visionary. As a young man growing up in Hackney, I pursued the streets, went to jail two times and saw six of my friends shot dead. I turned my life around and I want to tell others that they can do the same. What is your excuse for not pursuing your vision?”

What makes TEDx special?

“TED is a unique platform with the ability to change lives. Spreading ideas is a powerful thing, TED really reaches out to people and makes an impact by its online presence in times when the world is becoming a global village.”

Which is your favourite TED talk?

Bill Clinton’s talk in 2007  “About Rebuilding Health Care in Rwanda”.

All talks and performances from the two events can be seen in full length at TEDxYouth@Croydon and TEDxHackney, including award-winning author, Saci Lloyd, talking about the ancient idea, of creating a society where no law is passed that will harm children, as she said:

“If we do not protect the children, then how can there be a future.”


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