Wes Moore speaks about choices, expectations, engagement
3:14 p.m., Feb. 21, 2013--Wes Moore, best-selling author and youth advocate, visited the University of Delaware on Wednesday, Feb. 20, to discuss the deeper meaning behind his book, The Other Wes Moore.
“The only thing we can do is make it matter that we were even here in the first place,” said Moore.
“Wes Moore believes in the potential for community to shape its youth, positively or negatively,” said Sarah Georger, co-curricular coordinator for the Honors Program. “This Day of Service will give students a glimpse of their community’s needs with the chance to develop lasting partnerships with each organization.”
Moore challenged the audience to think about how the decisions they make and the relationships they invest in impact the future.
“What are you doing to make humanity better?” he asked.
The Other Wes Moore tells the story of two men who share the same name. One Wes Moore stood on stage in Mitchell Hall, speaking about responsibility and choices; the other is serving a life sentence without parole on murder charges.
Moore discussed how his book is about more than two kids who ended up with different fates.
“I wanted people to understand just how thin that line is between two people’s lives,” he said.
Moore spent years corresponding with the incarcerated Wes Moore and found that the two had much more in common than he expected.
When he explored the differences between their lives, Moore found that the choices they made, their interpersonal networks and their expectations shaped their paths.
To illustrate the importance of support and decisions, Moore told the story of how his mother sent him to military academy after he spent his youth acting out. After attempting to run away five times in four days, Moore called his mother begging to leave.
“My mother told me, ‘Too many people have sacrificed in order for you to be there and too many people are rooting for you,’” he said.
Moore stayed and the decision impacted the course of his life.
“We are products of our expectations,” said Moore, noting that the expectations people set for themselves come from the expectations of others. “What we see, what we envision for ourselves is generally what we manifest.”
Moore discussed the importance of becoming engaged in the community in order to set higher expectations for the figurative “other Wes Moores” in society.
“Will you be a person who might stand up and provide a voice for someone who might not have one?” he asked the audience.
Moore’s message encouraged participation in the upcoming Day of Service.
“The world needs each and every one of you to be engaged.”
Article by Kelley Bregenzer
Photos by Lane McLaughlin