Diversity Woman Magazine

FALL 2014

Leadership and Executive Development for women of all races, cultures and backgrounds

Issue link: https://diversitywoman.epubxp.com/i/385684

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Page 44 of 71

d i v e r s i t y w o m a n . c o m Fa l l 2 0 1 4 D I V E R S I T Y W O M A N 43 W hen Sunny Hostin was six years old, her uncle was stabbed as she looked on. Just over a year later, she witnessed a friend's father murdered in front of a candy store in her neighborhood in the Bronx. "Tose incidents shaped who I am," says Hostin, a CNN legal analyst and frequent guest host on ABC's popular talk show Te View. "Tose experiences made me strong—there's nothing I can't handle. Tey also informed my career direction. I think I became a prosecutor in large part because of those experiences." Today, Hostin, 45, whose mother is Puerto Rican and father is Afri- can American, is, for many television viewers, their go-to media analyst for high-profle, complicated legal cases, particularly those with a racial component. Viewers trust Hostin, a former federal prosecutor, not only to break down a legal case but also to provide the emotional context around hot-button cases. Tey know that she's been there—and often is not afraid to take a stand. Most recently, Hostin was on the scene in Ferguson, Missouri, provid- ing insight into the racially charged incident in which Michael Brown, an unarmed African American teenager, was shot and killed by a white police ofcer. Tis time, her trademark reporting style of incisive legal analy- sis combined with an empathetic demeanor was tinged with frustration, even outrage, that the same story line—involving racial profling, violence against an unarmed black man, and public uproar—was being played out once again. It was easy to imagine many viewers across the country nod- ding in agreement as she expressed the anger they were feeling. One of Hostin's colleagues, Regina M. Jansen, a senior trial attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice, sums up Hostin's universal appeal: "As a leading attorney, Sunny is a brilliant woman. Her talents also include in- credible emotional intelligence. She comes from humble beginnings that taught her how to relate to diverse people, both class and culture. She is a kind and generous person, always carrying humility with her in all of her circles. From the moment you meet Sunny, you see a beautiful woman who disarms you with her great wit and humor. She's a wonderful gift." That a young Puerto Rican-African American girl, the child of teen- age parents raised in poverty in the South Bronx, rose to become one of the country's most trusted legal analysts is startling (and also echoes the story of Hostin's hero, Sonia Sotomayor; see sidebar, page 45). "I was more likely to become a statistic," says Hostin. Sunny Hostin, whose real frst name is AsunciÓn, credits her success in large part to her parents, Rosa and William. Her mother became preg- nant with Sunny in high school, and she and William were married three weeks before Sunny was born. Rosa had dreamed of becoming a law- yer, and William longed to be a doctor, but an infant daughter quickly derailed those plans. William got a job as computer analyst, and Rosa POSSIBLE . I SHOULD'VE BEEN A STATISTIC. BUT HERE I AM. SUNNY HOSTIN PRECEDENT SETTER

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