Hero: Oprah Winfrey
When you hear the word, “hero,” most likely you automatically think of fictional characters like Superman, Captain America, and Batman. However, how often do you think of real people as heroes? By definition, a hero is a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. In today’s society, so much bad is happening around us that we need heroic people to keep the good in the world. Martin Luther King Jr. was a hero for his telling the world about his dream to end segregation laws. Many heroes are also often role models to many people. Heroes give ordinary people hope and inspire them to do the same. Oprah Winfrey is a hero in today’s society due to her independence and compassion.
Oprah Gail Winfrey was born on January 29, 1954, in Kosciusko, Mississippi. She is the daughter of Vernita Lee and Vermon Winfrey. Oprah was born into a lower class family, living in a troubled neighborhood for most of her life. She was raised by a single teenaged mom, who abandoned her at a very young age. Oprah was then sent to live with her grandparents where she learned to read and write before the age of three. In school, she was so smart that she was promoted several grades. At age thirteen, Oprah ran away from home after being sexually abused by a cousin, uncle, family friend, and even her mother’s boyfriend. Oprah then became pregnant with an ill son who died shortly after birth. She looked at that situation as a second chance, and moved back home. Oprah attended Nashville East High School where she won a speaking contest and was granted a scholarship to Tennessee State University. She majored in speech communications and performing arts. Oprah’s career took off after her boss at the time got her onto the show called “People are Talking.” In 1981, Oprah sent in recorded tapes of the show to a talk-show in Chicago called “A.M. Chicago,” where she was offered the job and immediately changed the name to, “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” (thebiographychannel.com) “Oprah’s childhood helped her to be strong and successful person. It also told her that she does not want others to suffer from terrible things like she did” (an anonymous writer on greatleaders.freewebspace.com).
Oprah Winfrey is a philanthropist. She is most known for her talk-show where she discussed equal rights of genders, racism and poverty. However, she has contributed to society in many other ways. Oprah has donated over $1 million dollars to charities like the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, Children’s’ Memorial Hospital, and Chicago Academy of the Arts. She donated a box to Chicago’s Providence St. Mel. School which held $1 million dollars, and established a school in Africa for young girls. She’s also established the Oprah Winfrey Foundation where she has given thousands of grants to organizations who support education to children and empowerment of women, helping families in America and across the globe (imdb.com). Oprah is a role model for success. She gives to the world which helps others succeed and inspires them to pay it forward. Oprah’s contributions to society help support womens’ shelter, establish schools and scholarships, and builds youth centers and homes for the poor and the needy. (Myhero.com)
Oprah Winfrey wanted to make a difference in the world and she did just that due to her compassion and independence. Oprah, being a philanthropist, has given to the world more than anyone can imagine. She has compassion for people who are often looked down upon such as women, African-Americans, and the poor. Not many millionaires spend their time giving away their money, but Oprah does. She is so compassionate that she donates to the needy no matter how difficult it may be or how many people she may have to talk to, to do so. Her compassion has spread worldwide and has changed society in many ways. “Oprah is a person who has become successful and spread it around to those who need it the most. That is why she is my hero and role model.” (Atoosa Rubenstein, Editor in Chief of Seventeen Magazine)
Oprah Winfrey is very independent. From an early age, she knew what she wanted to do, and she went for it. She has accomplished so many things that require hard work and dedication, and would seem “far-fetched” to most people. Oprah knew she wanted to make a difference in the world and didn’t rely on other people to do it. Her compassion has spread and her independence has made it easy to do so. “I don’t think of myself as a poor, deprived ghetto girl who made good. I think of myself as somebody who from an early age knew I was responsible for myself, and I had to make good” (Winfrey).
Donating millions of dollars to charity, opening a school for young girls in Africa, and organizing the Oprah Winfrey Foundation, can be accomplished with nothing less than an immense amount of compassion. Furthermore, think about how hard it must have been to do these compassionate things. Her independence made it easy for her strong will to pursue these gestures. The Oprah Winfrey Foundation has made a difference in societies across the globe and couldn’t have done so without Oprah’s compassion to want to organize the foundation and her independence to do what she had to do to organize it.
Oprah Winfrey is a hero in today’s society due to her independence and compassion. She is one of the most generous, strong-willed, and influential public figures in today’s society. She has changed society in ways only she could think of. Worldwide, things are looking up because of her. With the world becoming more and more corrupt, we need heroes to bring positivity and hope into it. The Oprah Winfrey Foundation, the school in Africa, the millions of dollars donated to charities, and The Oprah Winfrey Show, have all been accomplished through compassion and independence.