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2016 Speakers TEDxColumbus

Donte Woods-Spikes

Donte Woods-Spikes Is a Columbus Ohio Native with a camera and a plan to change both minds and hearts.

Woods-Spikes began taking classes at Columbus State Community College as a part time student in 2012, where he first ran into his Sociology teacher, an ex-cop, who introduced him to community work.  Ever since he's been trying to make positive changes in areas where people are told to "stay away."

Donte started a teens group In 2014 after hearing about murders constantly taking place in the neighborhood he volunteered in and built a relationship with the teens in the neighborhood which happened to be predominantly African-American. After one of the young men that attended the group, who had a lot of influence over the neighborhood was brutally murdered, Donte was inspired to begin recording his interactions with the teens and young men because the information shared by the young man that was murdered was imperative to anyone who desires to help young black men make it out of poverty. He is currently working on a documentary called A Talk With Our Sons that involves young black men expressing their feelings and being openly honest about how they feel towards recent tragedies and events, as well how their lives are at risk and how they believe they are seen by society. The documentary gives the boys free range to speak without being censored which provides them with an authentic voice.

When Donte isn't interviewing teens, he's talking to the Liaison Officer, whom he has become great friends with who is heavily invested in creating relationships in the community. With the current issues at hand involving community and police, Donte’s unique approach has granted him trust from both the community of Black Men and Police Officers who are White. Being able to migrate from the neighborhood and police station, A Talk With Our Sons could possibly be the answer to questions that various Police Officers continuously ask him when it comes to policing neighborhoods filled with Black Men and the ingredients to bridging the gap of community-police relations.

He has been recognized for his efforts and dedication by being invited to speak on numerous panel discussions at facilities such as CSCC and Trinity Lutheran Seminary on issues of race and bias, as well being interviewed by the likes of Columbus Dispatch and Columbus Alive for being active in the community.

Growing up in the Linden area, his parents were able to place him into a school with a much more appealing learning environment where he happened to be one of the very few African-American students who attended the school.  After his first year he transferred to a different school that displayed major significant differences which contributed to traumatic experiences, causing his grades to suffer as well making him resent White Women and Black Males young and old as a collective for 12 years. After several outburst in high school he was expelled from Columbus City Schools and was placed in a Charter School where he graduated in 2010, 2 years later from his expected 2008 graduation date.

Donte plans to start his own organization and make documentaries revolving around urban life experiences to help educate and introduce the world to a realistic view of people who live in these areas and how much adversity they have to overcome.


Father, Brother, Son