What Oprah Knows For Sure About Her Life's Goal: "2020 Was Never My Aim"
Other times, you take your trophy, sit back down and find out you've accidentally started running for president.
To everyone who says I must have known I was arousing political interest by giving that speech: For sure, I was only trying to land the speech in the room and as far beyond as my words would carry.
I'd been looking for a way to reconcile historic gender and racial injustices with the current #MeToo and Time's Up movements. (I come from a line of domestic workers, a grandmother and mother who were never allowed to say "me, too." They endured.) I wanted to speak for every woman who couldn't speak for herself and to honor those who've found the courage to be a larger voice for our time.
And then Recy Taylor died. I saw her obituary and knew immediately she was the connection between the past and this moment.
I appreciate and am humbled and sincerely moved by everyone's enthusiasm in the wake of my speech. I'm grateful to those who heard the message. I wanted to say something about race and class and gender and express my deep admiration for each person who is at long last telling their truth without fear or guilt or shame. And I wanted to make clear that nobody should ever have to compromise their values or integrity for a job.
My plan was to thank the women in their gorgeous black gowns and the men in their Time's Up buttons for fighting the good fight, and to convey my gratitude to those who stood together on the front lines of change—from the thousands who marched across a bridge in Selma 53 years ago to the millions who joined the Women's March last January, proving once again that power doesn't trickle down, it rises up!
Oprah 2020 was never my aim.
My life's goal is to be of service to a greater good. Wherever that true calling takes me, I've always been willing to go. It's just that, as boisterous and energizing as the reaction to my speech was, other people's enthusiasm isn't the same as a calling. I think it was a yearning for a different way of envisioning the world. A world where all humans have value. Where the number one goal is elevating humanity.
That, I do strive for.
And I know this for sure: As long as I've got a voice and a vote, I can use them to help lift up humankind and human consciousness. I want everyone to feel that they belong and are worth standing up for. That no matter what darkness you've lived through, there's someone out there willing to carry the light that will lead you to your own true north. That there is good in our world!
I refuse to be quiet in the face of injustice. And perhaps the best thing about America is that—young or old, rich or poor, no matter your race, whatever your religion or your sexual orientation—you too can stand up and speak out! No better moment than this one.