'Don't let your past dictate your future'

Hagerstown native urges others to bring change through what moves them

Hagerstown native urges others to bring change through what moves them

February 11, 2008|By ALICIA NOTARIANNI

Miranda Brown remembers the first time she tried college. One C and four F's.

Then there was the second time. One C and three F's.

Years later and notably self-aware, Brown, 28, took a couple of classes last semester at Hagerstown Community College. This time, two A's.

"I knew I wasn't a stupid person, but I knew I was being foolish. Now I'm taking three classes. And I expect to get three A's," she told the intimate crowd Saturday afternoon at Contemporary School for the Arts and Gallery.

The gallery is celebrating Black History Month with a series of lectures, presentations, exhibits and workshops that are free and open to the public. Gallery founder Ron Lytle said the nonprofit organization relies on community involvement of young and old alike to empower and encourage children through the arts. He commended Brown for her involvement.


Brown said her desire to influence a younger generation of people comes from her own experience.

"I have the desire to give them somebody they can relate to. You have to share things that have been in your life. If you are afraid of where you come from, younger people will have a false sense that everything just happens perfectly," Brown said. "You just don't let your past dictate your future."

Brown spoke about Martin Luther King Jr., outlining his ideals and then questioning whether people today are carrying on his legacy.

"Are we fulfilling the dream with the same passion and zeal and tenacity that Dr. Martin Luther King had?" Brown asked.

"If we capture the spirit of him, we would be able to cause change for this world. One person alone can't correct all of its social ills, but I believe if each individual within themselves is moved with compassion to change that which they are compassionate about, we can transform or at least minimize some of the conditions on this earth."

Brown, a Hagerstown native, is the mother of two young girls, a poet, and director of a choir for children ages 2 to 8 at Greater Campher Temple. She is working toward her associate's degree in sociology at HCC, then aspires to earn a bachelor's degree in education or sociology.

She said she hopes to become an international school teacher because she sees "countries and nations so poor that people can't even get adequate education."

Brown told the teens in the audience to make smart decisions and to be active in their education.

"Each one of you has a significant purpose why you are here. The enemy will try to trap you, to pull you away to the ways of the world, to get you off course to things that will not benefit you in the future. If you have to stay alone to do the right thing, stay alone," she said.

Krisandra Davis, 16, of Hagerstown, said she was inspired by the message to "speak up and do the right thing."

Bianca Pierre, 15, of Hagerstown, said she learned "not to let anything keep you down."

Dawn Martin, 35, of Hagerstown took her three daughters to the presentation. "It was very motivating. I just think students, especially as they get older, need to know how to stay on the right path and how to stay focused in life," Martin said.

In addition to the lecture, the gallery offered light refreshments, craft workshops, a step dancing demonstration, and displays highlighting African-American art and history.

If you go. . .

What: Contemporary School for the Arts and Gallery

Event: Black History Month Celebration featuring lectures by Art Page and Marcia Sanders, craft workshops and refreshments

When: 1-3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16

Where: 4 West Franklin Street, Hagerstown

Cost: Free

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