Local 13-year-old motivational speaker addresses national stage — again

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Elijah Coles-Brown is not one to shy away from a big stage. Last year, the then 12-year-old spoke at the Democratic National Convention.

This year, while listening to the Reverend Al Sharpton on the radio talking about the National Action Network’s convention, a civil rights group founded by Sharpton, Elijah decided to call in.

“Rev. Al, if you need a speaker for the youth I would be so happy to do it,” Elijah said.

12-year-old Elijah Coles-Brown speaking at the DNC.

Among some of those in attendance were Spike Lee, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Elijah.

The reverend decided to take Elijah up on his offer to speak. There, he met Samuel L. Jackson, Martin Luther King III, and of course Reverend Al Sharpton.

“Some of these people are role models, people I strive to be like,” said Elijah.

So what was it like to meet his idols?

“It’s a feeling you can’t really explain because you feel so happy to be able to meet them but at the same time you feel so nervous,” said Elijah.

Beyond being star struck, Elijah says he learned the importance of fighting for social justice.

“We can’t just talk we have to be able to do,” said Elijah.

“It’s very important to teach our children outside of the classroom,” said Elijah’s mother Brenda Coles.

Brenda says it’s hard to believe what he’s been able to do.

“It makes me proud as a mother yes,” said Brenda.

She says if she had one message for parents, it’s that anything is possible.

“Just to be an encouragement to your child. I believe that all of our children are dynamic,” Brenda said.

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