The Shriver Report – I’ve Been Thinking…You’re Not Alone, Tell Your True Story
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I’ve Been Thinking…You’re Not Alone, Tell Your True Story

3 25 2014- Oprah Prime-Maria Schriver

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.

[Read all of Maria Shriver’s ‘I’ve Been Thinking’]

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.

[Read: Fighting the ‘Other Than’ Instinct: Why We Should Let People In]

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.

[Watch: Maria Shriver, Oprah Winfrey and Katrina Gilbert in their Google+ Hangout]

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.

[Read: Do You Know How to Prioritize Yourself? 5 Ways to Stop #DoingItAll]

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

 

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Maria Shriver is a mother of four, a Peabody and Emmy Award-winning journalist and producer, a six-time New York Times best-selling author, and an NBC News Special Anchor covering the shifting roles, emerging power and evolving needs of women in modern life. Since 2009, Shriver has produced a groundbreaking series of Shriver Reports that chronicle and explore seismic shifts in the American culture and society affecting women today.
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