“Human beings are not constructed from silence but through language,” expressed John Gavin White, one of the eighteen auditioners who articulated their ideas of passion at the second Live Audition for TEDxAsburyPark. Speakers from Delaware to New York City and everywhere in between (including an Asbury Park local), took the stage in the Paramount Theatre on the Asbury Park Boardwalk. White, identifying as “John De Conqueror,” explained how lifelong hardships lead to passion and a changed outlook on the world.

In describing their passions on stage, auditioners shared their message of how passion can be achieved through struggle and hardships to influence others to find their own passions.

“From the age of thirteen to the age of fifty-three, it took me forty years to figure out I was transgender,” shared Karen Holmes, in her talk, 40 Years and Wandering No More. Her successful career is recognized for her involvement with Federal government, Red Cross, and the U.S. Military. Holmes’ passion is to educate the young transgender community to believe in themselves and to focus on the power of positivity and determination. “I would like to emphasize the fact that we are out there, doing marvelous things in the world. For that reason, I continue the fight, to come out of my shell for my passion to push forward and to help other people.”

Jason McEwan struggled with depression throughout his life, until he transformed his physical anger into words of gratitude. McEwan, who was constantly in search of happiness, found solace in a journal. Each day, he would spend some time writing an entry about a positive moment or something he was grateful for. “I would read it, and I would read it out loud to myself, seven times. I had to really convince myself sometimes, especially on the bad days, but they were usually the most powerful.” McEwan wanted to share this new perspective on life with the entire world, and would place empty journals in bookstores, with a message for users to write an entry of gratitude, then to pass it on. “The power of gratitude is beyond anything I could imagine. I learned to loved myself, I learned to love others,and I then learned to love life.”

After each auditioner concluded, the audience had an opportunity to vote for the speaker to continue on to speak at the TEDxAsburyPark PASSION conference on May 19th. An Open Rehearsal will take place on Tuesday, April 12th.

TEDxAsburyPark is an annual Jersey Shore-based conference dedicated to community, education, and innovation. In the spirit of “ideas worth spreading,” TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, live speakers spark deep discussion and connections through their stories. The goal of TEDxAsburyPark is to bring world-leading TEDx talks to the Jersey Shore in an all-day event that inspires us to learn and think about the future of our home at the Shore.

For more information and detail about upcoming events, and to buy tickets to PASSION on May 19th, please  click here.

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