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KAZ LUCAS, JIM CHUCHU AND TOM OSBORN SELECTED FOR TED FELLOW PROGRAM

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Kenyan singer and sex educator Karen Lucas, filmmaker and cultural innovator Jim Chuchu and mental health innovator Tom Osborn have been selected to be part of Ted Fellows class of 2021. The Program brings together young people from all over the world who have proven to be change makers.

I’m very honoured to be a 2021 TED Fellow alongside some truly spectacular folks! In the past, I worried that my practice was spread across too many mediums, or tried to solve too many problems. My colleagues and I understand now that the problems facing Kenyans, Africans, black people, queer people, creatives are interconnected in their history, present and future.

And that the interdisciplinary work of unpacking those interconnections is as urgent as the work of digging into the particular. I’m looking forward to learning from my fellow classmates, and sending many thanks to the @tedfellow team, @wanuri and @julesrotich for their support. And of course, none of this would be possible without my always supportive and lovely @thisisthenest and @hevafund family!” said Jim Chuchu.

Tom shared, “Today, I’m honoured to have been awarded 1 of 20 the TED Fellowships given to doers who have shown unusual accomplishment, exceptional courage, and are creating positive change around the world. I was born in poverty in a small village in rural Kenya where only 1 in 12 graduate high school. But since those days, it has been dreams — big and small, serious and funny — that have kept me going, a belief that tomorrow can be better than today. This fellowship, as another @tedfellow @karim_abouelnaga said is “validation that “your starting point does not have to dictate your life prospects. No dream can be too big.”

Karen wrote a lengthy post on her social media page, “My entire life, people thought my methods were overbearing. I have always been the girl that was too much. Everything I did was always too much for people to understand and too much for them to sit comfortably in. Because of this I have been an outcast. ‘Sex?’ I have often been asked, ‘What do you know about sex?’

Here’s what I say; I know enough to know that the way the patriarchal systems are set up in Kenya need to change. I know enough to know, the methods used to raise boys in my country need to be decolonized and deconstructed. I know enough to know, the blame of violence perpetrated by men shouldn’t lie in the hands of the victims that are often women.

I know enough to know that the education system in Kenya that perpetuates rape culture must end. I know enough to know that my constitution claims that all human rights are equal yet many of my queer folk are losing their homes, families, jobs and lives in this “equal community” country. I know that sex is pleasurable and everyone needs to learn that!

I know that change is coming if it comes with my last breath. This is a vow to self and country. Yes, I have always been a creature of validation and this is my highest validation yet. Now I must put on my big girl panties and work on the imposter syndrome that is strong within me. This is me! I am a 2021 TED fellow! ME! Karen Kaz Lucas. Mama, I really made it

!”

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