Aspiring to Lead and Open Minds: Tawanna Brown

“Something I aspire to do in the future is to make my way up the U.S. government and be a part of the Congress,” says VHS senior Tawanna Brown. 

While many may share similar aspirations of political success,  far fewer can claim the same qualities and life experiences that Tawanna Brown possesses. 

If given the chance to have high-level political power, Tawanna would change the definition of what it means to be black in America. She strives to work for marginalized black people to “have the same opportunities as their white counterparts.” A big-hearted and sympathetic person, not only does Tawanna have bright plans for the future, but she is already active in improving the lives of those around her. 

Behind the scenes, Tawanna is an active member of the D.C.F Youth Council, an organization working for the welfare of children in foster care, where she uses her past struggles to be a valiant voice for children that can’t advocate for themselves. 

“A lot of the things I’ve been through, most adults have not experienced in their  life,” Tawanna recounts, which has also influenced her ambition to become a criminal justice attorney. She is the type of person that uses her past endeavors to paint a brighter future for everyone, taking negative situations and flipping them into positive, beneficial lessons. Being open-minded and empathetic towards her community, Tawanna’s multicultural upbringing motivates her to ensure that people from all walks of life feel welcomed and accepted – a true quality of leadership displayed in a brilliant young woman. 

“Before moving to Verona I viewed white people as exotic, something I’d never experienced in large part,” Tawanna describes. Having been born and raised in Newark, moving around from East Orange to Plainfield, and finally coming to Verona, Tawanna is one out of a few students who have experienced a wide range of experiences outside of Verona. With the perspective of being raised in diverse environments, Tawanna feels that the environment of Verona could improve through becoming more progressive and “less cliquey.” 

“Verona can improve by being more open-minded; the town is so stuck in their ways. It is important for the town as a whole to know that there’s so much to the world behind this five-mile radius town,” Tawanna explains as she believes that Verona adopting a more inclusive attitude would benefit everyone, as the town would become more united and enjoyable. Providing a different perspective from most VHS students, she believes that VHS can start becoming more accepting of different cultures, views, and start listening to the voices of the minority attending the school.