Elijah Coles- Brown, Motivational Speaker
I was born on February 10, 2004, in Norfolk, VA to a struggling, single, 41 year old, mother. I also have a brother 14 years my senior. Early in my life, my mother said I showed early signs of accelerated growth. I started reading and writing complete sentences at the age of 3 years old. I also read about 20 books a day. At the age of 3 or 4 years old, my mother suffered with major medical issues. I showed great compassion and love for my mother, never leaving her side. When attending kindergarten, my reading level was 4th grade. My kindergarten teacher said that I encouraged my classmates by making class work fun. I love the Lord. That is my foundation. Because of my upbringing I believe it takes a village to raise a child. I attend 31st Street Baptist Church in Richmond, VA where I serve on the Youth Usher Board, as a Youth Usher, a Boy Scout, and the Media Ministry. I believe that God is first in my life. I also believe what my mother has instilled in my life. Love who you are, work hard at everything you do, be honest, helping others, love your family, and always be the best that you can be. My mother believes in educating me outside the home by making sacrifices so that I will be well rounded, by traveling to different countries so I can understand different cultures and respecting everyone’s differences. I enjoy cultural events, museums, Broadway plays, and musical events that will continue to educate me.
In 1st grade I attended Twin Hickory Elementary in Glen Allen, VA. My favorite teacher, Amy Wells was my 2nd and 3rd grade teacher, and she took an interest in my education. She was not just my teacher, but Amy Wells and The Twin Hickory Elementary School staff embodied what it means, it takes a village to raise a child. When it came to my classwork and homework, Mrs. Wells would not allow me to turn anything in late. She encouraged me to speak on topics that may be sensitive or difficult for kids in 2nd or 3rd grade. Public speaking became the norm in my class on a weekly basis, which helped me to become comfortable with public speaking. I am now a rising 7th grader, and I am attending Moody Middle School, for the International Baccalaureate Program. My reading and math is on a 10th grade level.
I love to volunteer. I volunteered the phone bank for both of President Obama’s campaigns (2008 and 2012), and am currently volunteering for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Campaign. In April of 2014, I volunteered for Councilwoman Sharon P. Scott of Newport News’ campaign and was asked to return and introduce her when she won the election on May 6, 2014. I have also volunteered for various other organizations. On August 24th 2013, I attended the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington where I participated in the marches. Additionally, I was asked to march in the National 4th of July Parade in Washington D.C as Frederick Douglass in July 2016. I ended up doing my first speech when I was asked by the youth minister of 31st Street Baptist Church to recite the full text of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech on Dr. King’s Holiday. I memorized the speech in about 2 weeks. Since that speech I have been invited to speak in different venues throughout Richmond and Newport News, VA. I would love to continue to encourage people about the importance of the Civil Rights Movement and other famous people in history that do not get the attention that is well deserved. I hope to change that and hope to inspire my peers and the young at heart about the importance of reading. This is what inspired my company, and thus Dreamers Imagine was born.
I want to be an Engineer and I am a member of NSBE (National Society of Black Engineers). I am the President of the Nubian Village Chapter of NSBE. In August of 2014 I made my acting debut, performing as the Greek muse of music, “Euterpe” in a theatrical production honoring the late R&B soul singer Minnie Riperton entitled “Vivacious.” I have also participated in a James Brown play titled “I’m Black and I’m Proud, The Soul and Spirit of James Brown. Also, I have been in Abolitionist’s Museum at the American Theater in Hampton, VA. It’s about eight abolitionists deciding whether to burn or preserve the Confederate flag. I also was an extra in the Major Motion Film, “Loving”.
I was in the Richmond Free Press as Personality of the Week in October of 2015. I spoke to the Knights of Pythagoras, which is the young black men mentoring program for the Prince Hall Masons. I spoke for their summer encampment at Virginia State University. I have also spoke at many other different venues including: At the 2015 National NSBE Convention (in front of 10,000), and I’ve also been to the 2016 National NSBE Convention in Boston, Massachusetts, I’ve spoken At St. John’s Baptist Church, At Pilgrim’s Journey Baptist Church, At the VEA/NEA Put Kids First” Rally, At the Children’s Museum of Richmond, The Virginia Executive Mansion, Virginia Department of Transportation Career Expo in Hampton, VA, Governor McAuliffe’s Transportation Conference in Virginia Beach, VA, The Blacks in Wax Museum in Baltimore, Maryland, The NAACP State Conference, University of Richmond, the NAACP March for Justice Event at Virginia Union University, Halifax Community College in North Carolina, the Democratic National Convention via Skype at a watch party in Richmond, VA, and more!