I went back to my hometown of Chicago this week.
That’s right I’m from Chicago.
It’s where I was born and lived until I moved to Washington, D.C. at the age of five and a half. Many people that I meet think I’m from Boston because my mother was. Others think I’m from Maryland because that’s where my dad grew up. I’ve spent the majority of my life living in California.
But I spent my formative years in the Midwest, so at heart I’m a Midwestern girl.
I came back to Chicago because my good friend of 36 years, Oprah Winfrey, wanted to do a Town Hall-style show for her OWN network with an audience of women living paycheck to paycheck and to discuss the film I just executive produced for HBO of the same name.
I’m grateful to her for using the power of her pulpit, as she has always done, to talk about the truth of the majority of American women’s lives: 42 million American women are living on the brink of poverty, and supporting 28 million children.
The gathering of women moved me deeply.
At times I could feel my eyes well up with tears when I heard what their lives are like, how hard they are trying and how little they are supported.
None of them were looking for a handout, They just need a hand up.
None of them looked like they were struggling on the outside, but on the inside they were and are. More often than not, our outsides don’t accurately reflect who we really are and what we are going through.
I hope people will watch this show and reach out to the people around them and ask: “How are you?” “Do you need a hand?”
I really believe once we all ask that question, we will hear stories that will surprise us, move us and ignite us.
Thank you Oprah for giving us a chance. Thank you Katrina Gilbert for having the courage to show your life like it really is.
Everywhere I go people say to me in hushed tones, “That’s me. That’s my sister, my brother, my mother.”
It’s the story of our times.
If you tell your story you will be surprised how many people will say “me too.” Better yet, share it here, on ShriverReport.org.
**Watch Oprah & Maria Shriver: The “Paycheck To Paycheck” Town Hall Sunday 3/30 at 9pm ET/PT on OWN**
Photo courtesy of Harpo Studios Inc. / George Burns
- I’ve Been Thinking…What is the Key to a Joyous Life?
- Elizabeth Gilbert’s Advice to Women: Get Out of Your Own Way
- Brené Brown Talks to The Shriver Report: The Power of Shame on Women Living on the Brink
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