‘We are going to stand up’: Henrico teen finds strength in Dr. King’s legacy

HENRICO, Va. --There`s not much about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that Henrico teen Elijah Coles-Brown doesn`t know. Coles-Brown, a prominent youth motivational speaker, has spent a good part of his short life studying Dr. King`s life, work and his mission.

“When I`m allowed to research and get his wordage, his figurative language, his powerful messages he used --I think about him a lot in my daily life, especially when i`m fighting for my rights as a human being," the teen said.

Elijah has recited many of Dr. King`s famous speeches on the local and national stage. At home, pictures, historic documents and reminders of Dr. King adorn his bedroom walls.

On April 4, the 50th anniversary of Dr. King`s death, Elijah reflects on how he`d like to see other young people embrace the reverend’s legacy and carry out his mission in a world that seems to be consistently rocked by violence.

“Dr. King`s story should continue to be told throughout all future generations because it can inspire many youth to get up and say we`re not going to take this gun violence any more, we`re not going to take this racism," he said.  "We are going to stand up for a change.”

Eljiah in front of the wall he's made to honor his hero.

When the teen isn`t speaking, or doing school work, you`ll likely find him researching Dr. King.

Coles-Brown said that he thinks Dr. King would be proud that he is trying to perfect his motivational speaking.

“When it comes to me continuing to do what I do in my field, I continue to put Dr. King`s non-violent approach and put his speaking approach in my head,” Coles-Brown said.

Elijah said he continues to be inspired by Dr. King and finds hope in the powerful messages he delivered decades ago.

“I think that being able to understand what Dr. King did when he did something and why he did it is important to being able to continue to drive our nation to a positive outcome," Coles-Brown said.