Elijah Coles-Brown is a national motivational speaker, social justice and civil rights activist, entrepreneur, speech writer, podcaster, talk show host and mentor. He was born on February 10, 2004, in Norfolk, VA to his mother, who has been a civil rights activist for 4 decades, Brenda Coles. He has a brother, Larry Robinson Jr., who served in the United States Air Force and also attended an HBCU, is 14 years his senior. Early in his life, his mother quickly saw his accelerated growth and he eventually began reading and writing at the age of 3 years old, reading an average of about 20 books a day. Though his mother suffered with major medical issues, he always remained compassionate towards her, and remained by her side. While in kindergarten, he read at a 4th grade level. He loves the Lord and God remains his foundation for everything that he does. Over the course of his life, he has continued to live by the values that his mother instilled in him: Love who you are, work hard at everything you do, be honest, help others, love your family, and always be the best that you can be. He graduated from John Randolph Tucker High School from the Center for Spanish Language and Global Citizenship, and was certified bilingual by the state of Virginia on his diploma. Currently, he is a freshman at Virginia Union University majoring in criminology. His goal is to change the rough climate of the criminal justice system for young people and to fight against gun violence and crime against people in our communities.
One of Elijah’s favorite things to do is volunteer. He volunteered for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns (2008 and 2012), Hillary Clinton's 2016 Presidential Campaign, Levar Stoney’s Richmond (VA) Mayoral Campaign, and for Sharon Scott’s Newport News (VA) Councilwoman Campaign. Though he has volunteered and participated in a lot of political campaigns, his volunteering work is not just limited to politics. He regularly volunteers for events around the community and enjoys helping others that are in need. Elijah also had the honor to teach students at old Dominion University, and assist Professor Crystal Nolen with her Public Speaking 101 class and Persuasion 300 class. Additionally, Elijah had the opportunity to teach an Aspect of Business Class at Bryant & Stratton College in Hampton VA.
One of Elijah’s first experiences with civil rights activism and social justice was when he had the opportunity to attend the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington in 2013. Over the course of his early years of education, he became comfortable with public speaking. On October 30, 2016, he had the honor to introduce the 44th President of the United States, President Barack Obama, on a national conference call to nearly 10,000 people. He also had the opportunity to speak via Skype at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, PA. The first speech that he ever performed publicly was the “I Have a Dream” speech at 31st Street Baptist Church, where he is a currently a member. After being asked by the youth minister to recite the entire speech, he memorized the speech in a span of about 2 weeks. Since that speech, he has been asked to perform speeches in different venues and events around the state of Virginia, and eventually, around the nation.
His horizon has been broadened since then, as he is currently asked to write his own speeches. Motivational speaking and activism eventually changed his mindset, and imbued him with the hope of reinforcing the fact that young people can do anything if they read, dream, and imagine. He also wants to encourage young people, as well as adults, that youth are just as capable of making a change as adults are. These hopes and views inspired him to create his own company, which led to the birth of Dreamers Imagine. He also has created a subset of Dreamers Imagine, called Dreamers Imagine Productions. This subset was created in order to show the historical significance and occurrences of different time periods in American history. One of the productions, called Freedom Day, is a theatrical production based on a speech by Frederick Douglass called, “The Present and Future of the Colored People of America”. Freedom Day shows the cruel and unequivocal evil of slavery, using a medium that can reach youth and adults alike.
As he was growing up, he was actively involved with the National Society of Black Engineers, and though he is no longer seeking a career in engineering, he still would like to pursue a job in the STEM field by pursuing a career in forensic science! He was the President of the Nubian Village Chapter (now referred to as NVA-STEM) of NSBE for two years. While Elijah is a speaker and an activist, he has had several acting roles. His acting debut was in a theatrical production called “Vivacious” which honored the late R&B soul singer, Minnie Riperton. Since then, he has had the opportunity to act in other plays and theatrical productions like: "I'm Black and I'm Proud, the Soul and Spirit of James Brown”, which is a play dedicated to James Brown and his legacy, and “Abolitionist's Museum”, which is a production that poses the question of whether or not a confederate flag should be preserved or burned. He also had the opportunity to act as a background character in the Major Motion Picture “Loving”.
Elijah has made many public appearances. He was recently featured in the October issue of the Richmond family Magazine article, “ Voice for Good” He have also been featured in Time Magazine, The Richmond Free Press, The Legacy, The New Journal Guide and many different newspaper articles during the course of his career. Some of his TV interviews include: The Karen Hunter Show, TVONE Roland Martin, MSNBC, WTVR CBS 6, Virginia This Morning, Coastal Live, WWBT NBC 12, WRIC ABC 8, WTKR CBS 3, WVIR NBC 29, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed News, MTV, and New York One News. Some of his radio interviews include, 105.7 KISS FM, WTOY 1480AM, the Sharvette Mitchell Radio show, WEACT Radio 1480AM, WWEN 94.4FM, WHOV 88.1. In September 2018 through October 9, 2018, Elijah co-hosted a TV Talk Show titled "Youthful Voices” for 5 weeks on Comcast Channel 95 and Verizon Channel 36 and he hosted his own podcast show, titled "The Elijah Coles-Brown Show", which was on Karen Hunter's Podcast Network, The Hub.
Here are a few highlights of Elijah’s career: In July of 2014, Elijah spoke to the Knights of Pythagoras, which is the young black men mentoring program for the Prince Hall Masons, at Virginia State University. At the 2015 National NSBE Convention, in Anaheim, CA, Elijah recited the “I Have a Dream” speech to a crowd of over 5,000 professional and aspiring engineers, as well as people working in the STEM field. Also in 2015, He had the opportunity to speak at Governor McAuliffe’s Transportation Conference and the Virginia Department of Transportation Career Expo. In 2016 and 2018, Elijah attended the Frederick Douglass National Oratorical Contest, in Washington D.C. and placed first in his respective division. In 2016, he had the opportunity to work with a filmmaker named James Kicklighter, to create a commercial for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Presidential Campaign. In 2017, he worked with a filmmaker named Natasha Scully, from the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY, who created a documentary about Elijah. This eventually led to him being able to speak at the Omega Institute for the Being Fearless Conference October 2016. Elijah had the honor to speak at Reverend Al Sharpton's National Action Network Convention in New York City in April of 2017 and 2018. He spoke and marched at the Thousand Ministers' March for Justice in Washington D.C sponsored by Reverend Al Sharpton and the National Action Network. He decided to take more initiative in the Civil Rights Movement by becoming the Vice President of the Richmond Chapter National Action Network. In August 2018, he held a 1,000 Backpacks Campaign, where he donated book bags, school supplies, and clothes for children and families all around the Richmond community. He also had the opportunity to mentor children in the KidPrenuer program in August 2018.
He has spoken at multiples churches and organizations, At the VEA/NEA Put Kids First" Rally, At the Children's Museum of Richmond, The Virginia Executive Mansion 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 Anacostia Playhouse in Washington D.C for the 199th Frederick Douglass Birthday Celebration, Petersburg Train Station in Petersburg, VA for Petersburg Communities Inc., Petersburg Christmas Parade, Burley Middle School in Charlottesville, VA, Charterhouse School in Richmond, VA, and Convention Youth Camp, the Virginia Rules Camp (which was sponsored by VA Attorney General Mark Herring and the Richmond City Police), Giving Heart Thanksgiving Day community feast, Barbershop Talk with Ms. Community Clovia, Petersburg Delta Sigma Theta World AIDS Day Event, along with multiple TV and radio interviews and appearances, and more!