Author and social entrepreneur Wes Moore spoke to students about his experiences as a child and how they relate to current day issues such as racial discrimination during Community Flex Time through an online webinar Sep 18.
Over the past few months, many different crises, such as COVID-19 and the inequities of policing, have exposed the same truth about inequality against people of color in America, Moore said.
“We see how these two twin crises expose a real singular truth and that is the role that race plays in our society, in our work, in our mission and how undeniable it is,” Moore said. “Dealing with COVID is about much more than the discovery of a vaccine and dealing with inequitable policing is much more than the elimination of chokeholds.”
Moore speaks about conversations regarding inequality
Moore said many recent conversations regarding issues of inequality often do not include people with first-hand experiences, leaving them underrepresented. . He said this gives society the opportunity to reframe its perspective and focus on unity, rather than separation.
Moore then spoke about his personal life and how his family shaped his view of the world.
“As tough as I thought I had it, or as tough as I thought my sisters had it, the person who really had it toughest was my mom, because she was now going to raise three kids on her own,” Moore said. “And in no way was this the life she prepared for and in no way was this the life she expected, this was not the life that she dreamed about.”
According to Moore, one of his most memorable moments with his mother involved her speaking to him over the phone after he tried to run away from military school.
“She said too many people sacrificed for [me] to be there, and too many people are rooting for [me],” Moore said. “She said that it was not all about [me]. What I understood was that what was important about what she was saying was not about me sitting there in a military school. What she was talking about applies to everything we are seeing right now as well.”
Moore discusses current issues of inequality and discrimination
Moore continued his speech by relating his experience to current-day issues of inequality and discrimination.
“When we live in a completely interconnected society and when we live in a framework right now, when somebody is feeling insecure about the neighborhood that they are living in, then that should concern me just as much as it concerns them,” Moore said. “When we as individuals feel that they are not heard or that they are not seen, that’s not just their weight to hold, that should be all of our weight to hold.”
Moore said he does not view success as material, and that having a degree does not necessarily equate to being educated about current day issues.
“The interconnection of everything we are as a society right now has got to be the way we approach the rebuild that is going to be necessary,” Moore said. “Unless we build together, there will be nothing less to salvage.”
Junior Prefect shares his thoughts on Moore’s speech
Junior Prefect Jason Thompson ’22 said a committee made up of Prefect Council members organized the Flex Time in hopes of starting conversations about controversial topics on campus.
“I thought Wes Moore’s speech was very powerful,” Thompson said. “He is a great speaker and used his stories to keep everyone interested while still touching and giving his perspective on some very pertinent and ever important topics.”
Students said they felt Moore’s speech was extremely relevant and conveyed a strong message to the community.
“I really enjoyed how Wes’ anecdotes felt so accessible regardless of the audience,” Amanda Korris ’22 said. “His incredible storytelling breached the distance of a Zoom setting, and I felt really connected to his message and deeply moved.”