In his keynote on tolerance and acceptance, American cartoonist Jok Church enters the stage dressed in a full red and black leather outfit and humorously jokes with the audience that he writes children’s books. He then goes on to tell them a personal story about how a teacher protected him from being beaten up almost every day for three years from other students who bullied him during his high school years in the sixties for being a gay man.
After finishing high school, Jok Church got his life on track; he moved to San Francisco, found a successful job and a romantic partner. But years later, he received a phone call from his old teacher; she told him that she desired to see him again and that he needed to come visit her quickly as she had pancreatic cancer. After visiting with her at her home in Ohio, Jok and his partner decided that they wanted to stay and help the woman who had once saved Jok’s life in high school. In this touching speech, Jok Church gives a revealing account about why we should treat others with kindness and dignity in a presentation that is both about life and death.