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"You Matter, and Your Voice Matters"

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"You Matter, and Your Voice Matters"

Aug 13, 2020

We should remember that we are all connected and intertwined, and so we should be uplifting each other. In this mentor moment—the first in a collection of MENTOR MOMENTS from BUNDLE OF HERS—Harjit remembers words from Oprah Winfrey and reflects on using her own voice as a tool to amplify stories of the underrepresented.

Episode Transcript

I immigrated to this country when I was three years old, and one thing that we always did was watch television. Me and my sisters and my mom and dad all would sit together and watch the news mostly to learn English. I do remember that, when they would go to work, me and my sisters would always watch "The Oprah Winfrey Show."

I remember one day we were sitting on our sofa. It was 4:00 p.m. We had just come home from a long day from school, eating roti and sabji, Punjabi food, and staring into our old-school 1990s television. And this particular episode stood out to me. This particular episode was about uplifting the stories of those who had been sexually abused. In the end of the episode, Oprah said some words that will never leave me. She was looking straight into the screen with tears at the brim of her eyes. She said, "You matter, and your voice matters." I felt like she saw me that day and heard me and her words were for me.

Oftentimes, we think of mentors as people that we have personal interactions with. When I was little, that moment felt personal. I think it's one of the biggest reasons why this podcast is so important to me. When I think of the words that she said in those episodes, I also understand how relevant what we are going through in this country is today. When I think of the #blacklivesmatters, that's what I see. I see that there has been generations and generations of individuals that have not been heard. And Oprah even saying that to me a little bit, I knew my voice mattered. It's about uplifting each other. And more importantly, it's about honoring every single human on this world.

Another thing that I have been thinking a lot about in that episode is she had mentioned that it's really important to acknowledge pain, and that is both at a personal level, a family level, a community level, and also a societal level. What has been going on now is centuries of pain that has not been acknowledged. And because we are all connected, what I understand from that is I am also connected to the liberation of black lives.

I am always reminded of this episode in my everyday life, and that is why I try to utilize my voice. I also try to understand my pain and reflect on it so that I can use it as a tool to change the way I think and the way I behave. Although Oprah has given me many mentor moments, this is one that I will hold onto forever.