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June 15, 2017

AN OPEN LETTER TO OPRAH WINFREY from Calvin Schwartz

AN OPEN LETTER TO OPRAH WINFREY from Calvin Schwartz

Oprah

 

Oprah

 

 

 

 

 

 

CALVIN BARRY SCHWARTZ

earthood@gmail.com

Twitter: Earthood

njdiscover.com         http://vichywater.net

 

 

 

June 15,  2017

The Oprah Magazine

Oprah Winfrey, Founder and Editorial Director

 

Dear Oprah:

The energy for this letter began on Tuesday April 18th when you were a guest on the Dr. Oz Show devoted to “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.” (a wondrous film). I knew that I’d be sitting in the special VIP first row seats, close to the guest sofa. I wanted to get your attention so I wore my ‘loudest’ socks which you noticed. My legs were crossed and gyrating. You smiled at me and my socks. There was a reason for attention getting.

Last summer, I began mentoring two special recent Rutgers University graduates, Chisa Egbelu and Kayla Jackson. Chisa and I met four years ago at the Garden State Film Festival. He was a film intern and I was there to see a cutting edge film on Emmett Till.

Oprah

with Chisa Egbelu and Kayla Jackson at IDT headquarters in Newark

 

Oprah

with Senator Cory Booker along the Jersey shore

Two years ago, Chisa and Kayla conceived a company, PeduL (pedul.com) which would become an online crowdfunding tool that connects students with resources and support they need to pursue higher education. I always look at the whole planet earth and big pictures. Coming up with ways to help educate youth across the world, can change courses of history. Taking some of the burden away from financially strapped government is good stuff.

I believed in these “kids,” so last summer I started mentoring them. Then I met with Senator Cory Booker here in New Jersey. I asked him for 44 seconds time. (same time to read letter). I explained the same thing. Three days later, his aide called me and I brought the “kids” from PeduL to meet with his top education aide at his Newark office.

A year ago, IDT Ventures in Newark, part of IDT Corporation, a billion dollar plus telecommunications, pharmaceutical, entertainment and energy company took PeduL into their incubator program.

 

Oprah

with Nick Clemons, Andrew Schuman and DR OZ from April 18th

 

Why did I wear those socks? To try and get your attention and talk those few seconds with you as I did to Senator Booker. I marvel at you, your accomplishments, humanitarianism and commitment to global education. I felt you should know about these special “kids” and their vision of a better smarter future and world.

If ever you’re floating around New York City and…………

Wishing you much success with the film and only good things always and all ways.

Warmly,

Calvin

PS:  I’ve enclosed pictures to aide in my story telling. They are my socks which you smiled at, with Kayla and Chisa in Newark, with Senator Booker and with Dr. Oz, Nick Clemons (son of Clarence Clemons) after the show.

April 13, 2016

A VIEW FROM THE PRESS BOX: SUPREME COURT JUSTICE HONORABLE SONIA SOTOMAYOR VISITS RUTGERS EAGLETON INSTITUTE bY Calvin Schwartz April 13, 2016

A VIEW FROM THE PRESS BOX: SUPREME COURT JUSTICE HONORABLE SONIA SOTOMAYOR VISITS RUTGERS EAGLETON INSTITUTE   bY  Calvin Schwartz    April 13, 2016

 

IMG_6810

Dr. Barchi, Rutgers President greeting Justice Sotomayor and Ruth Mandel

Dr. Barchi, Rutgers President greeting Justice Sotomayor and Ruth Mandel

 

Over the years I’ve discovered the mind expansive joys of Rutgers Eagleton Institute of Politics. After one lecture, I told Watergate-famed John Dean, Nixon’s counsel, that he contributed to the break-up of my first marriage because I spent three weeks as a newlywed watching his testimony and nothing else. He laughed and asked if I re-married. I remember lectures with Doris Kearns Goodwin, Governors Whitman and Codey, Michael Beschloss, David Gergen.  Senator Corey Booker was at Eagleton a few weeks ago. Actually Senator Booker called on me for the last question; it was my omnipresent Rutgers hat and “over-abundance of hair” which garnered his attention. When it was announced that Justice Sotomayor was coming on April 11th and registration was at 9AM on line, I set the alarm for 8 AM. I filled out the form at 9AM sharp. Seconds later, it was closed out and so was I. The demand to see the Supreme Court Justice was beyond.

 

 

Justice Sotomayor & Ruth Mandel entering the RAC

Justice Sotomayor & Ruth Mandel entering the RAC

on stage with questions from Ruth Mandel

on stage with questions from Ruth Mandel

Eagleton reacted and moved the venue to the Rutgers Athletic Center(RAC) to accommodate.  I remembered I’m a journalist here at NJ Discover and got press credentials for the event. Arrival was two hours early to set up in the press box yet even that early you could feel a special air of excitement and still hear echoes in the empty RAC. I walked around absorbing. The doors opened for the spectators; such a diverse and smiling demographic. I knew it wasn’t basketball season or Kansas. This was a special day.

Dr. Barchi, Rutgers President spoke briefly and acknowledged some past Jersey officials. Ruth Mandel, head of Eagleton and Justice Sotomayor walked across the gym floor to the stage and two comfortable chairs. A very skilled eloquent Ruth Mandel began to ask questions.

 

 

with John Dean, President Nixon's counsel after an Eagleton lecture a few years ago

with John Dean, President Nixon’s counsel after an Eagleton lecture a few years ago

Recently with Senator Cory Booker after Eagleton lecture.

Recently with Senator Cory Booker after Eagleton lecture.

 

Justice Sotomayor remarked, “Who I am is an amalgam of experiences.” Mandel asked, “What did you hold onto from early days?”  “I have a Puerto Rican heart….my culture is who I am….my values that I was taught…. love of family, community, country….”  Once I heard her words, I knew she was a very special exceedingly humanistic Justice; a rare precious and beautiful person. This audience was in the presence of greatness. Isn’t it funny how fast you can tell qualities. She was born in the Bronx, went to Princeton and Yale Law.

“Has the court affected people close to you?” She missed that first Christmas; couldn’t leave the court. “Sure it changes you.”  She went on to say, “I studied and studied…. never cut corners with education…. I worry students who are involved in everything…. involved with too much…. should concentrate on passions…. Don’t do any work that you’re not passionate about.” Yes, she was on a college campus with many students listening.

 

On the second level

On the second level

On the big scoreboard screen

On the big scoreboard screen

I  loved this next segment. Justice Sotomayor mentioned that she doesn’t like sitting for long periods of time and walks slowly but she’d walk into the stands all the way up to the rafters answering questions. “I was called “hot pepper” by my mother. I can’t sit still.”  How wondrously real. She shook hands with some of the appreciative audience. I was in the second level press box; she was three feet away. Yes, thrilling.

“Every night before I go to sleep, I ask what did I learn new today. How did I extend an act of kindness? If I can’t answer, I don’t go to bed…. I go on the internet.” I turned to Dan, Editor of the Rutgers Targum, sitting next and whispered, “A very special person. Wow.”

Fittingly she spoke about more diversity on the Supreme Court can help to better understand the cases but wouldn’t necessarily change outcomes. “In every case we’re announcing a winner. One side comes away vindicated…. One loses…. It makes this job hard.”  I liked the air in the gym; no questioning on prevailing winds of politics and the court. There is a time and place. I just wanted to hear her humanity and personal expressions.  Back on the gym floor, after students asked questions and a photo-op, Ruth Mandel and Justice Sotomayor were quickly gone. I think she had to catch a train.

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