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As a 2-year-old, I stepped outside into the warmth of the sun, its embrace wrapping around me like a comforting blanket. But amidst the brightness, a dark shadow loomed behind me, evoking an inexplicable fear that drove me to run inside, tears streaming down my face. That childhood memory became a poignant metaphor for the shadows that would follow me throughout my life—the lingering darkness of abuse.

In the corridors of my childhood, those shadows were filled with fear and doubt, a constant companion that threatened to overshadow the notes of my piano keys. Yet, even in the midst of the overwhelming darkness, the stage became my sanctuary. Under the bright lights, amidst the sounds of the piano, I found not only a reprieve but also the beauty that is inherent to our world.

In 2014, a call from Representative Angela Romero changed the trajectory of my life. She asked if I would share my experiences with child abuse, testifying before the legislature to support her bill on sexual abuse prevention in schools. I deliberated, aware that revealing the specifics of my shadows meant exposing my vulnerabilities to the world. It was a choice between the comfort of privacy and the responsibility to be a voice for the voiceless.

I chose to testify, not for myself, but for the timid little girl who once ran from her shadow, and for every child who has felt the grip of fear and loneliness. That decision marked the beginning of my journey as an advocate, testifying numerous times to ensure that the voices of children in pain are not only heard but also supported. My passion lies in creating a safer community for the next generation.

We all carry shadows—those aspects of our lives we fear facing, that crave advocacy, that we hope will cease haunting us if we simply turn away. Today, as a candidate for the Salt Lake County Council, my goal is to shine a light on our shadows. While my experiences are unique, the need for someone in your corner, an advocate who stands by you through thick and thin, shadows and all, is universal.

I believe that together, with your support, we can heal and shine a light on the well-being of our children. Let’s work tirelessly to prevent those shadows from casting a long and daunting presence over the lives of our youth. With your help, we can illuminate the path to a better future and create a community where no one walks alone in the darkness. Together, let's shine brighter and build a future free from the shadows.

Deondra Brown is a distinguished concert pianist. She has captivated audiences with over 600 performances, both solo and as part of The 5 Browns piano ensemble. A Juilliard School graduate, she co-founded the ensemble that revived the tradition of "monster concerts."

Beyond her musical achievements, Deondra is a passionate advocate for child abuse prevention. She has testified before the Utah State Legislature, co-founded the Foundation for Survivors of Abuse, and holds leadership roles in organizations like the Utah Coalition for Protecting Childhood.

A dedicated educator for three decades, Deondra works to pass on her musical knowledge to the next generation of musicians. Her philanthropic endeavors also extend to supporting classical music outreach programs and the VH1 Save the Music Foundation.

Recognized for her impact, Deondra received an Honorary Doctorate from Utah Valley University in 2019 and delivered the Commencement Address. She lives in Salt Lake City with her husband, Kevin, and their thirteen-year-old daughter, Adrienne, embodying a life dedicated to music, advocacy, and positive change.



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