After seeing two specific television specials this past week about George Clooney and Oprah Winfrey, I felt the need to publish my feelings about these two humanitarians.
Last week Ann Curry hosted an NBC Dateline edition called "Winds of War: George Clooney in Sudan". Mr. Clooney recently made a trip to this African country on the brink of civil war. He warned that the Northern Sudanese Moslem regime of Omar al-Bashir might commit genocide in Christian Southern Sudan. Using his celebrity status, Clooney was able to travel through the Southern region of Sudan with the aid of NBC cameras and speak first hand with its citizens. The individuals he spoke with conveyed the fear that they have as well as the determination to fight for their land. This footage made its way to The White House and was helpful in presenting the needs of the Southern Sudan people.
This recent pilgrimage by Clooney follows his now long list of opportunities that he has acted upon to HELP PEOPLE. His advocating for the Darfur refugees has been globally recognized. It is impossible to recall any of our nation’s natural (or man-made) disasters without seeing Clooney's face being associated to raise funds and awareness, and since 2008 has served as one of the United Nations Messengers of Peace.
Just last night I saw the Barbara Walters special paying tribute to Oprah Winfrey. It was basically an interview recapping her last 25 years on 'The Oprah Winfrey Show' and how she has changed. It was mind boggling to see the thousands of people she has helped over the years during the taping of her shows. I was specifically touched when I heard that 2011 will see the first graduating class from the 'Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls' near Johannesburg South Africa. These bright young ladies have been visiting colleges throughout the United States where they have received 'full scholarships'!
Oprah's philanthropic ways are known globally. 'Oprah's Angel Network' has raised more than $80 million dollars. In 2005 she was recognized by Business Week as one of America's most generous philanthropists, having given and estimated $303 million of her own money. Her show for more than 25 years has potentially changed the lives of millions of people worldwide.
I was quite humbled when watching the specials on these two amazing individuals. I understand that their 'celebrity status' allows them the opportunity to reach so many more people than I can (at least for now). But I was more impressed with their 'efforts'. Their celebrity status has nothing to do with their inherent need and desire to help people. That is a gift, and a life-style they would be leading even if they weren't famous. I applaud all that they do and what they stand for as 'humanitarians'. I aspire to one day be able to reach and help the millions of people that they do.
For now, I continue to do what I can.
Oprah answered a question from Barbara Walters with a response that I will carry with me for my remaining days on this Earth:
BARBARA WALTERS: "After all that you have done, what is left?"
OPRAH WINFREY: "To be the greatest expression of all that I can be"