Walking the Talk on the Boardwalk; TEDx Asbury Park 2018 Pt 1

What’s your passion?

I am a Jersey Girl and spent many summers of my youth on the storied boardwalk. I rode the Carousel, jumped over the waves, dug in the wet sand in search of treasure, and peeked into Madame Marie’s hoping to get a glimpse of the mysterious psychic.

For me, Asbury Park carries deep energy and resonates today with the passion of the people who came before and the ones that are the present and future. But it remains a city struggling with its identity and the racial and social issues that have marred its potential.

Now, I spend time there with family and friends enjoying the beach, the food, the music , the arts and the vibe.

On Saturday May 19, I attended the TEDx talks at the historic Paramount Theater in Asbury Park, NJ.

This year’s theme…. PASSION

TEDx Passion was a day long event that gave voice to 20 speakers and performers. Over several posts interspersed between others in the coming months, I will be sharing my thoughts and reactions to just a few of the amazing speakers I had the honor of experiencing.

Some I already knew, like the music of Emily Grove, Arlan Feiles, and JT Bowen.  If you are not familiar with them, find them online and listen. If you are fortunate enough to be able to see them perform live… GO.

Arlan appeared twice. First with JT Bowen where they shared their voices in songs that inspired and uplifted the audience. Then Arlan returned to the stage alone with his keyboard, the large screen, the story of his song Viola, and the woman who inspired it.


Viola Liuzzo was a mother of five, wife and deeply passionate woman and activist who lived in Michigan. In 1965, she followed her passion an answered the call for social justice and joined Dr. King and others on the March from Selma to Montgomery. On the drive back, she was assassinated by the Ku Klux Klan. She is the only known white woman to be murdered by the Klan. She was 39 years old.


In an age where we are facing so many challenges, where the fight for equality is far from over in this country and around the world, Arlan’s song reminds us of what has happened and what still needs to be done, of a woman for whom her purpose and passion for justice and a better world was worth risking and losing her life.

Listen to Arlan’s song Viola, here.

We are not all called to lay down our lives for a purpose, but we are all called to seek our purpose and passion and live it.

Do you know your purpose and passion? Are you seeking it?  Share your thoughts in the comments. Share this with others so that they can experience Arlan’s music and Viola’s story.