"This month the picture on our front cover is that of a wonderful inspirational young teenager. Born in New York and raised in the South, [Mandara], now sixteen, has dedicated most of her young life to encouraging people through her voice. When she began, after 9/11, in one year she went from singing for 200 people to over 100,000 people sponsored by Pepsi Bottling Co. She has already had seven newspaper articles, a television feature, and AP newspaper and radio coverage. Her music is based on our constitutional rights to have freedom of religion and equality. She has never written or performed songs typical to the pop media. She sings out for tolerance among races and faiths, and beckoning to all those struggling to surmount their obstacles...
Called "Young Lady Liberty," she has been supported by a broad spectrum of Americans, and has locally sung for the Bristol Veterans, Mosheim Fun Fest, the Greeneville Astros, Pepsi Bottling Co.'s Independence Day Celebrations at Freedom Hall, the DAR, President Andrew Johnson memorials, the Beck Black Heritage Center in Knoxville, and the Buddhist International SGI Peace Culture Festival. Last year, this Greeneville girl had the honor to be invited to perform her original songs in front of the Jefferson Memorial for the Washington D.C. National Cherry Blossom Festival. "I sing for Veterans because they were willing to sacrifice their lives to protect our Constitution which guarantees equality for all..." [Mandara], with a young heart and a strong conviction, states, "If all Americans do not overcome their prejudices, hatred, and violence towards each other, then these Veterans have died or have been injured for nothing. That is the travesty of violence towards one another. If we do not uphold the visions for which our Veterans have died for, then we are trampling upon their graves. Therefore, we must uphold our civil liberties, protection our right to be individuals with personal liberty, racial equality, and freedom of belief. We, as Americans, need to declare an "armistice" towards each other. It is not enough to fight for a cause. We need to apply tolerance- our constitutional foundation- respecting our diversity and set a glorious example for the world- a world of huge diversity!"
One of her original songs was used at her high school's memorial for Virginia Tech. In it, she encourages her generation not to give up on themselves and to continue to strive towards a non-violent world. In the aftermath of VT, it is important to emphasize the more positive efforts by young individuals that remain anonymous in the glare of violent attention-seekers, and for our cultural influences to be less prone to glamorizing destructiveness, which swells into negative emulation in the real world. "We cannot suddenly have a perfect society without encouraging the individual, no matter what faith or non-faith, to stand strong against the tempest of life. America is the land of the free, but in that freedom we can fall into darker realms; we can harbor hatred; we can suffer in lonely depression. When I sing, I thank those who have protected our freedom, yet hope to encourage those who do not appreciate it, who need to awaken and strive above their frustrations towards a positive outcome in their lives, and ultimately a peaceful world."
[Mandara] has been a voice for her generation encouraging steadfastness in the face of the terrorism and violence that has "rocked their world." Simultaneously, her songs beseech the necessity to stand strong for the protection of our human rights. Both principles were imbued in her through the awareness that her grandfather Imre Kovacs, a hero in East Europe, established a democracy in Hungary after WWII that was crushed by communism and as Senior Editor of Radio Free Europe fought the information blackouts throughout East Europe that followed. These are [Mandara]’s personal witnesses to the religious and racial bigotry still very much alive today in the USA. Her ability to impact others comes from living through more loss in her youth than many adults experience in a lifetime. "Those losses have made me a much stronger person because I believe that coping with loss, pain, and struggle builds character. Because I believe that if an individual can rise above his or her own lower worlds of anger, hatred, jealousy, and greed, and can start to build a more enlightened world. It starts with a suffering teen; one misguided fanatic- overcoming personal pain and hatred and building a peaceful world- connecting. My songs bridge the two."
It has been said that her “resolute path” and “never give up spirit” will shine an illuminating light ahead for her generation, and a light of hope for older generations to understand that although they have left the young a damaged world, youth will rise above and commence the healing. [Mandara] set out to reassure our nation, through the conviction, power, and enlightenment of a young woman brought forth from the common people, that from this moment on there can be a new beginning. [Mandara] believes that after 9/11, everyone "woke up." "We became more aware of what America stands for, but over time we settled back to our personal divisiveness. I sing in hope that we can all wake up and become prouder, better, and more caring. It doesn't have to be only in crisis that we do that. We can change in this present moment; we can say no more violence, no more self-destruction, no more arrogance, and no more domination. It's a choice. That's all it takes." [Mandara] is a positive role model for the young and old. Proud of her heritage she will continue to sing from the heart with her conviction to find a better way. "life can be unbearably hard. We must find ways to overcome our personal obstacles and not turn our frustration into destruction of others or ourselves. We must find the inner strength to vault beyond the pain and create value from our hardships. That is what I sing about."