In just six days, Wes Moore will be returning to Champaign County to speak with over 500 9th graders about the choices we make and the impact they have on our lives. From Tim Mitchell's News-Gazette's story on 11-2-2011:
When Wes Moore became the first black student at Johns Hopkins University to become a Rhodes Scholar, the Baltimore Sun featured a story about his achievement.
That same year, the newspaper published stories about another black man named Wes Moore, but this one faced murder charges for the killing of an off-duty police officer during an armed robbery.
Both men — about the same age, from the same city — had difficult experiences growing up in blighted neighborhoods.
One Wes Moore became a paratrooper and captain in the Army serving a tour of combat in Afghanistan, served as special assistant to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and became an investment professional in New York.
The other Wes Moore serves a life prison sentence without the possibility of parole.
Wes Moore the businessman wondered how two people with the same name and similar backgrounds from the same city could emerge with such different lives.
So he interviewed the other Wes Moore more than a dozen times in prison and chronicled the story in a book published in 2010, "The Other Wes Moore."
Wes spoke last fall with our United Way Pillars and a few dozen youth in the the community, and the event was truly inspiring. Here's some reactions from those who attended last year:
He inspired everyone in the room to get involved in community service and to be the leaders for tomorrow's future.
I hope we, as a community, will benefit from his words, and I look forward to the next time he's here to visit.
My only regret is that we didn’t have more kids there. WOW…
The last quote is why we felt it so important to bring Wes back. On Oct. 18 at Parkland College, he will share his story with youth from all corners of our county.
Are you attending? Did you see Wes last year? What message do you hope Wes brings? Leave a comment and join the discussion.