ERIKA PRINS SIMONDS
Erika Prins Simonds has written hundreds of journalism articles, carving a niche for herself as a storyteller. That’s in her spare time. During the day, she is program coordinator for the creative non-profit Spark Central. She lives in downtown Spokane with her husband and two cats. A multipotentialite, she’s done stints in politics and marketing, managed a vegan restaurant and launched a mini side career as a graphic artist, teaching herself new skills along the way. Erika was born in Pretoria, South Africa and raised in central California before hauling all her flip-flops up to Spokane for college. She earned a degree in International Studies and Spanish at Whitworth University. She travelled the world as a high schooler and lived in Lima, Peru for a year as a teenager. Yet, it was at Whitworth that she discovered how profoundly people’s perspectives can differ. Whether debating forms of Marxism or the economics of sports stadiums, she was baffled that she and her classmates, given the same information, could draw conflicting conclusions. A decade later, the question of how and why we think so differently — and how to cross that gulf — has become pressing. Erika’s TEDx talk explores the part language plays in how we understand each other: We can use fierce, fearless conversation to build a healthier political culture that’s resistant to fear-based messaging.