Portrait by Devi Pride Photography.
Thomas Sage Pederson
When Thomas was a child, one of his first phrases was “friendly conversation”. Ever since, the driving force in Thomas’s life has been his ability to have deep and transformational conversations with people regardless of their background.
Through these conversations and his natural curiosity for the world, Thomas has cultivated a perspective that incorporates interconnectedness, compassion, and humor. He shares this perspective in his podcast, Speak for Change with Thomas Sage Pedersen, where he has produced more than 100 episodes amplifying the voices of leaders, changemakers, and artists from our global community. He believes that the arts are crucial to the human experience and should be accessible to everyone irrespective of their background. This belief inspired him to create the award-winning music school, Everyone’s Music School, with two locations within Santa Cruz County.
As a Black and biracial man raised in primarily white spaces, Thomas never really had a connection with the Black part of himself, yet he experienced blatant and subtle forms of racism growing up. In 2020, George Floyd and Ahmed Arbury were murdered—one by police violence and one by his own neighbors. This moved Thomas to highlight social justice the best way he could—through a segment on his podcast. He also helped co-found The Black Kings of Santa Cruz County, a safe space for black men from the county to meet, heal, and support each other. This one-of-a-kind group highlights issues around equity in the small Black community of Santa Cruz County. Thomas went on to become a partner in the Black Health Matters Initiative with the Tannery World Dance & Cultural Center and a member of the Santa Cruz Equity Collab.
Thomas is dedicated to exploring his curiosity in the interconnectedness of all things through writing, traveling, podcasting, speaking and more, fulfilling his mission to create and inspire positive and lasting change in our global community.