Eliza Zachowicz—At this year’s Diversity Conference, The College at Brockport was graced with the presence of Wes Moore, author of our summer reading assignment, The Work. Moore was set to give the afternoon keynote address and honestly, it was breathtaking.
Moore told many stories of his life, keeping the audience captivated, as his voice alone was that powerful. His first story that I found most memorable was about his childhood. Wes Moore’s mother had raised him to never hit a woman, even if it is your sister. He made a good point during this, and as a child had justified that this was his sister they were talking about, that it was a different situation. However, it does not change, no matter who you’re talking about. The way you treat your sisters and mother is more than likely the same way you will treat women outside of your own family. Having been raised in a house full of women, Moore became a thoughtful and caring man…eventually.
By eventually, what I mean, is because my next favorite story was when Moore was put into boarding school and had tried to run away and go back home. With each twist and turn of this story, the crowd deposited more laughs, but even so, this story was surprisingly relatable. While I have never been to boarding school or even a camp longer than a week, we’ve all felt trapped somewhere. For me, I felt trapped in my hometown. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family and my dogs, and nothing will ever top Buffalo’s sports, food or atmosphere, but I needed to get out. Instead of running away, I chose to head off to college. Here, I was able to “find [something] that makes [my] heart beat a little faster” and was finally able to go after it, just as Moore says we should.
Since I’ve started school here, I’ve learned a lot about myself and I’m thankful every day for the opportunities I am given. But, it wasn’t until Wes Moore told us that the best way to protect ourselves is to protect others that I realized why I chose my career path. When I graduate, I want to stay and work at a higher education institution in order to fight for others, help others and serve others in the way that I have been helped in my time here at The College at Brockport.
After leaving the address, I spoke with some of my mentees for the peer mentor class that I help instruct. One student specifically was filled with excitement and had a bounce in his step as he approached me. This student told me how ready he was to conquer the world and that he felt like he could do anything because of Wes Moore’s speech. So I told him that he should and that Wes Moore believes he can, and so do I. If I’m being honest, this was the most genuine conversation I’ve had with any of these students and I have Wes Moore to thank for that.
So thank you, Wes Moore. For coming to Brockport and inspiring these young minds. Some of us certainly needed it with midterms approaching quickly. And thank you, Brockport, for bringing someone so influential to campus and holding the Diversity Conference every year. Giving students an opportunity to share their research, foods and cultures. I am grateful.
What inspires you? Leave a comment below OR tweet me @bport_eliza !
Our president, Heidi Macpherson, and Wes Moore at this year’s Diversity Conference