TEDxABQWomen 2017 visited the KiMo Theatre Nov. 2 to explore “bridges” with presentations by female figures from across the state.

Women from a variety of professions discussed the idea of bridging a gap of inequality and understanding. The bridge is a symbol of uniting all intersections, to include communities distanced from one another and to start collaborative conversations between seemingly opposing groups.

“I think a lot of really unique ideas come from an all-women TED Talk,” said Santa Fe resident and audience member Natalie Najman. “To be able to turn that kind of focus to women is necessary, especially in a time when it is becoming apparent that there are societies and communities that are still working to keep the women’s voices silenced...When you can fill a stage with women from different walks of life and different educational backgrounds with different messages, it unites us all.”

TEDxABQWomen introduced the content by saying, “from the spines of their backs to the rich stories from their lips, the women of New Mexico inspire, empower and transform ideas into reality. They build bridges, cross them and sometimes they even burn them.”

Comedian and author Natalie Kossar emceed TEDxABQWomen. Speakers at this event included Val Day-Sanchez, Rosanna Dill, Magdalena Sandoval Donahue, Sidni Lamb, Sophie Toth, among others.

“(Bridges) is a very interesting theme, and it was applied very successfully among everyone, not necessarily (in) ways which I thought it would be, but I enjoyed how the speakers interpreted it,” Johnathan Najman, who also attended the event, said.

Day-Sanchez is a co-founder of All This Publications, an organization that discusses the lack of diversity representation in America. She said her approach to building bridges to inclusion addresses racism and diversity.

Her belief is that allies of those affected by racial discrimination need to recognize the changes that need to be made in society and take action to create a more inclusive world.

“Don’t just embrace diversity,” she said. “Embrace it with inclusion.”

Dill, a Las Cruces native, architect, technician and project manager, said her experiences in these professions created foundations for her belief that los buenos morales, or good manners, can bridge the gap that leads to interactions of people of all backgrounds and socioeconomic status to connect with each other.

“Los buenos morales are a sort of civil engineering which allows inclusion,” she said. “The notion of inclusion helps lead teams and projects to success, which leads to ownership, belonging, creativity and enthusiasm.”

Dill said respect was a large part of her family values in Las Cruces. She said respect can bridge social gaps between groups that do not recognize each other’s value. She said the point of interacting with each other is not to win, but to learn how to bridge gaps of difference.

“Let respect make peace,” Dill said, concluding her performance.

Magdalena Sandoval Donahue creates data visualization tools and science-outreach education efforts. She said science holds connections to every individual’s passion. Donahue said the process of questioning, observing and analyzing is a scientific process that can also be applied to many professions and hobbies.

Sidni Lamb and Sophie Toth closed the event. Lamb said she uses her experience in social entrepreneurship, mindfulness facilitation, humanitarian activism and as a U.S. Diplomat to connect people with mindfulness. Toth is an award-winning slam poet, poetry mentor and advocate for empowerment, social change and the use of mindfulness.

The two speakers said the idea that mindfulness is a crucial key to understanding others and to bridging the gap of difference between generations. Both Lamb and Toth said poetry and mindfulness can be used together to understand others and the community.

“I want to build a bridge,” Toth and Lamb said in unison. “ I want you to see how beautiful you look from this side.”

Rebecca Brusseau is a news reporter at the Daily Lobo. She primarily covers the LGBTQ community. She can be contacted at news@dailylobo.com, or on Twitter @r_brusseau.