Who doesn’t want to meet Oprah! Certainly, I did. I always felt we had so much in common. Born within a month of each other in the heart of the segregated South, she in Mississippi and I in Alabama, I believed a meeting between Ms. Winfrey and myself was predestined. And on Monday, October 7, 2019, that destiny became my reality.
Ms. Winfrey graced the campus of Morehouse College to visit with her Oprah Winfrey Scholars. It was the 30th anniversary of her first gift of $1 million dollars to the College. And with subsequent large gifts, her total giving to the Oprah Winfrey Scholarship fund had grown to $12 million dollars. More than 400 Morehouse students have been recipients of scholarships through Ms. Winfrey’s generosity. As a member of the Morehouse faculty team that mentors the Oprah Winfrey Scholars, I had the fortune to be up close and personal with Ms. Winfrey.
Ms. Winfrey was gracious, kind and fabulous. In her closed-door conversation with her scholars, she shared life success take-aways that should resonate forever in the hearts and minds of the young men.
Using her personal story of growing up in Mississippi as a black girl, not seen, not heard, she has taken her wounds of not being connected and turned them into the largest classroom…her show and the Oprah Winfrey Network. She challenged the students to do as she did… “figure out your broken pieces and fix that; heal the wounds of your past to be made whole.” According to Ms. Winfrey, “Your job is to fix you; make yourself whole; rise to the truest, highest expression of yourself as a human being.” “Honor the highest part of yourself; align yourself with what is intended for you; money and success will happen.”
While intended as inspiration for the students at Morehouse, I felt Ms. Winfrey was speaking directly to me. I am often guilty of reopening wounds from my past; losing altitude I’ve gained in my life journey; and having to heal again. When those times happen, I find refuge in the sacred sanctuary of SisterFriends. Talks, visits, giggles and get-away Girls Trips. Leaving the to-dos un-done and basking in the sunshine of unconditional Sisterhood love. From there, I emerge, strengthen with the belief that even the sky does not present a limit to my rise!
Ms. Winfrey’s final gesture of supreme graciousness and generosity was to leave a check for $13 million dollars. In her closing remarks to the Morehouse audience, she said, “I like round numbers. I’ll add $13 million to the $12 million I’ve already given to bring the total to $25 million dollars.” Thank you, Ms. Winfrey. Whether dollars or people, you are wind beneath the wings of millions.