Young, Gifted & Black Series
By Taki S. Raton
The morning Yahoo News explorer clip reads, “Chaos fills streets of Ferguson.” The click-on account headline cites that, “Ferguson businesses torched in overnight protest.” Writers Jim Salter and David A. Lieb report that smoke was billowing from burned-out-buildings, and sidewalks were strewn with broken glass on Tuesday morning, November 25. At least one building was still ablaze. 61 arrest were made for burglary and trespassing.
YG&B actually began preparing this writing shortly after Monday midnight when protestors began reacting to an earlier grand jury announcement by St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert P. McCulloch that 28-year-old police officer Darren Wilson will not be charged in the August 9, 2014 shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.
Yahoo News reported even then in the early hours that storefront windows were smashed near the Ferguson Police Department and that gunshots were fired followed by a police response of tear-gas and flash-bang containers.
But a young Sanford, Florida violinist had hopes as early as this past August following the Brown incident that she could use her music to bring peace to the overflow of emotions then brewing in the St. Louis outlining community.
She is young, gifted and Black. Leah Flynn had a vision, a commitment and the spirit of mission to use her unique talents on the violin to inspire peace and calm among the residents, the community and even the Governor in Ferguson as the nation nearly 14 weeks out, anticipated the now reached grand jury decision.
According to Brianna Edwards in her November 19, 2014 The Root posting, Leah, then 6-years-old, viewed on television the outbreak of protest and the subsequent police response in Ferguson shortly following Brown’s death.
She was perplexed as to what was happening.
“She said to me, ‘Mom, what’s going on?’ And I explained to her, because I had to,” said her mother, Paula Flynn.
“’But it’s not right. These people look so sad; maybe I could do something for them,’” her mother adds as quoted in Edwards.
So her father, Lennox Flynn also an accomplished pianist, practiced with her daily and taught her the song, “Let There be Peace” on her violin.
As cited on November 10, 2014 by Latoya Cross in Jet Magazine, the Flynn family resides near the area where the killing of young Trayvon Martin occurred.
“It all seemed eerily familiar to us in Sanford, so we decided to contact the Governor in St. Louis to offer Leah’s talent to help soothe the situation there,” he says in an August 26, 2014 PR Newswire article.
Governor Jay Nixon’s press secretary Schott Holste responded to Flynn thanking him for the suggestion to bring his daughter to Ferguson.
“I don’t know if we will be able to use her talents, but appreciate knowing those resources are there,” he says.
Father Flynn positions in the August 26 account that, “I heard some lawyer activist in Kansas City call the governor’s performance woefully inadequate and Time magazine dismissed him as tone deaf.
That’s when I thought Leah’s sweet violin could help get him even more engaged while soothing feelings all around.”
Her mother adds in Sonya Eskridge’s November 20, 2014 blackamerica.com that, “In her eyes, she believes that she can create some sort of change in the atmosphere there.
I’m extremely proud and I tell her it’s a God given talent that God gave her and she should use it wisely.”
As cited in PRWEB on July 30, 2014, father Lennox began cultivating Leah’s musical genius on the piano when she was only three years old.
Upon noting how easily and quickly she mastered the piano, he sensed that she might have a special talent for the violin as well.
He then contacted local violin teacher Michelle Martin under whom Leah became her student shortly after turning five.
To perfect her bowing techniques, she studied under Jess McKinney, a classically trained violinist in Suzuki methodology.
With only twenty months of violin exposure, Leah had learned at an accelerated pace as cited in the PRWEB posting.
“Leah is a very fast learner and a very humble little girl. She is phenomenal. I have never seen another child like her,” McKinney says in the July 30 account.
A Click Orlando reporting reveals that even at the then age of six, Leah can exquisitely perform dozens of pieces on the violin, but her favorite is “Let It Go” from Disney’s 2013 feature film, “Frozen.”
Our prodigy’s parents posted a video of their daughter performing the Disney hit on YouTube, and as of the August 14, 2014 date, her performance has attracted over 1,000 views according to the Orlando posting.
A student at Orangewood Christian School in Maitland, Florida, Leah enjoys performing violin solos at churches, senior residences and at school concerts.
She has been interviewed and has performed on Fox News, Click Orlando and on Channel 6 News.
Her biggest audience thus far, writes Cross, has been her appearance on the TV show, “Good Day Orlando.”
An active parishioner of the Patmos Chapel Seventh Day Adventist Church in Winter Park, Florida, Leah additionally became a member at the age of five of the renowned Metropolitan Area Youth Symphony Orchestra.
“I want to go on national shows and play for millions of people so lots of children can see me play. Then, maybe they may want to play an instrument,” she says in Cross.
Although the now 7-yearold was not invited to perform in Ferguson, she still envisions to use her music towards the greatest good.
And in this regard as noted in published accounts, Leah is currently practicing Christmas carols to share with listening ears locally in her hometown and nationally throughout the coming holiday season.