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Wes Moore Speaks On Remembering ‘the Others’

WESMOORE

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WESMOORE
Written by: Bernadette BeckerFebruary 21, 2018

Wes Moore, New York Times best selling author, veteran, and CEO of the Robin Hood Organization, wanted people to remember those who society forgets and focus on collective advancement for all people at his Feb. 7 Omnibus lecture.

Moore began his lecture with a story juxtaposing the affluence and poverty in America.

“It’s the same time markets are hitting 25,000 … its the fact that while that’s something to be happy about, it should also break your heart that at the same time we have children in school with hats and gloves and coats on.”

The challenge for people of today, Moore said, is to remember to advocate for others whenever someone experiences success, and to remember those who have not yet achieved it.

While Moore thinks that gaining employment is an important component of why higher education matters, he thinks the main reason is more nuanced: It’s not about a major, but growing as a person and choosing to fight for others even when it isn’t simple, easy or politically expedient.

An as Moore put it, education is about freedom:

“It’s the freedom to know that while the world does not revolve around you, the world does not exist without you.”

There is a thin line between success and failure, Moore said, and it can be hard to tell who is straddling the line.

“Kids who are one decision or one policy decision away from going one way or going in a completely different direction,” Moore said.

Moore said he wants people to appreciate the pivotal moment of decision making that often comes in disguise as citing the title of his book, “The Other Wes Moore,” as an example of how trajectories can change. When Moore was graduating from John Hopkins University with honors, another young man with the same name was being sentenced to felony murder.

“The name is completely irrelevant: there are ‘Wes Moore’s in every community. The most important thing is not the name, the most important thing is ‘the other,’” Moore said.

“The only way we are going to advance is if we have collective advancement,” Moore said.

Throughout his speech, Moore told stories from his life, such as the only two memories he has of his father, his troubled youth, which landed him at a military academy when he was 13, and his relationship with the other Wes Moore, a prisoner.

Moore does not credit his success to the change of location,  but rather that when he went away to military school he was surrounded by a community of role models.

“People who helped me understand there going to be no accidents in life…[circumstances were] never going to define me, [were] never going to limit me, and [were] never anything I should never be ashamed of,” Moore said, “So in essence they taught me what it is to be free.”

Moore said people like him who have been supported and uplifted have a duty to uplift and guide others: it is all about supporting others until they can support the weight of their own dreams.

The composition of the crowd for the lecture, appealed to Moore, who said:

“It says alot about the university, that this is not just students,” Moore said, “It says alot about the university that this is also the community.”

Moore went on to recognize the groups represented in the room, such as the Boys and Girls Club, the Big Brother/Big Sister Program, and those from a variety of demographics.