Every once in a while an opportunity presents itself that
becomes memorable. I had such an opportunity recently at the Spring
conference of IECA (Independent Educational Consultants Association) in
Boston, when I was invited to introduce a Keynote Speaker, Wes Moore.
That name may not immediately resonate with you, but I hope
it will soon. Wes Moore is an amazing individual who has risen out of the
obstacles of the inner city through education. Today, he is a towering,
compelling person -- successful in his many undertakings. He has shared
his journey through a book that I urge you to read, The
Other Wes Moore. His story inspires us to understand the power of an
education, as well as the potential for destruction without it.
Meeting him, after reading his book, added another dimension
to my appreciation of this compassionate man, committed to empowering others
to make positive choices. I would like to share with you my introduction
to Wes Moore, as I urge you to read his book.
Two boys named Wes Moore were born blocks apart within a
year of each other in troubled neighborhoods of Baltimore, both growing
up without fathers. With us this morning is the one who climbed mountains
-- both figuratively and literally -- to arrive at the heights of
achievement as a graduate of Johns Hopkins, a Rhodes Scholar, a decorated
veteran, a White House Fellow and a business leader. The other is
spending every day of his life behind bars.
Wes Moore has done more than survive the potential pitfalls
of his inner city background. He has built upon those pitfalls, allowing
them to serve as stepping stones to achievement. On his way, he has fully
ingested the world he came from and has total compassion for those who
have succumbed to the tragedies of their early years.
He has kept the child within, never losing track of the
difficult path he has followed, never losing sight of those he has left
behind -- or the road he might have taken. "It's unsettling" he
notes, "to know how little separates each of us from another life
For Wes Moore life is about the choices we all make -- some
facing greater obstacles than others. He considers his book, The Other
Wes Moore, as "a way of thinking about choices and
accountability, not just for each of us as individuals but for all of us
as a society." He is "indebted" to those who have stood by
him and loved him throughout his journey of life. He acknowledges that
one step can determine our destiny. "The chilling truth is that his
story could have been mine. The tragedy is that my story could have been
Wes Moore's steps have enlarged his world and ours. We are
fortunate to have him speak to us, today.