Wes stands for Moore

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By Joie’ Thornton & Kathy Tran
Senior Staff Writer/Art Director

 

Photo by Kathy Tran | Author Wes Moore speaks to a standing room only crowd in the Performance Hall at Brookhaven College.

Photo by Kathy Tran | Author Wes Moore speaks to a standing room only crowd in the Performance
Hall at Brookhaven College.

 

 

New York Times bestselling and Oprah-approved author Wes Moore spoke at Brookhaven College Feb. 6. Students from Brookhaven and the colleges that make up the Dallas County Community College District flocked to the Performance Hall to hear the author of “The Other Wes Moore” speak. Thirty minutes prior, before the doors opened, nearly 700 students mingled in the lobby, many with books clutched by their sides, hoping to score an autograph at the end of the session.

Once entry was granted, the seats steadily filled up, folding chairs were put to use and stragglers sat between railings or on the steps by each row. Hazel Carlos, a Brookhaven English professor, introduced Moore by giving a description of him and what he did for his community. Carlos titled her introduction “From Baltimore to Oxford and back to make a difference.”

“Our speaker is a man who said yes to life, who rebelled … who begged to be left to his own devices but could not because too many people had planned, sacrificed and lived for him,” Carlos said.

Moore gave back by creating an organization called “Stand” that works with Baltimore youth involved in the criminal justice system. “Our speaker wrote because he wanted to explore the factors that cause young men to say ‘yes’ to life,” Carlos said.

Moore gives a warm embrace to Hazel Carlos soon after she introduces him to the audience.

Moore gives a warm embrace to
Hazel Carlos soon after she introduces him to the audience.

 

As Moore entered the lecture hall, he emphasized that his talk was not just about the book. Although the room was packed, the audience was silent as they watched Moore intently.

Moore talked about his goals and shared a story about a Kansas City student who asked him what the coolest thing about his experience and the book was. Moore said he didn’t write the book to get on TV. “The point is to have an honest conversation about how thin the line really is between us and someone else’s life,” Moore said.

In college, Moore said he took a class called “Visions of the Self.” Students read a biography and an autobiography. Moore said for a person to write an autobiography, they have to have lived longer than 25 years.

He said it’s about how exactly a person has understood their life in a sense of context and a sense of perspective.

Moore also said higher education is not about having a transcript or a degree from a fancy school. “The point of higher education is to understand what becomes all of our roles,” Moore said. Higher education is what people are fighting for and what they are doing to change the world, he said.

Moore answered his final question in support of community colleges. In response, the crowd began to cheer in pride of the route they have chosen.

As his hands waved in unison with the words that echoed through the speakers, Moore signaled it was the end to his visit.

Students waited to exchange handshakes with the man of the hour and receive his autograph. Moore greeted students with questions such as “What year are you in school right now?” or “Where are you from?” as he signed each book. This went on for a little over an hour and a half, with students and a shuffle of professors in between.

Later, in the luncheon, Moore said he does not believe he is an author – he believes anyone can be a writer because everyone has a story.