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 46 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 45 the mother of a black boy, a child of color, I felt like I was meant to cover this case. And from then on out, I wasn't playing Sole- dad O'Brien anymore—I was playing myself on TV. I was the best Sunny Hostin that I could be." Hostin makes no apologies about establishing a position on certain cases, such as the George Zimmerman trial. She is the voice of indignant righteousness. As a multiracial reporter and analyst (as well as being African American and Puerto Rican, she has a Sephardic Jewish grandfather), people from all back- grounds—both sources and the audience—naturally gravitate to her. Her deep understanding of what it's like to be black or brown in America informs her reporting. "I understand the plight of black men in America because they look like my fa- ther," she says. While Hostin says that her gender informs her reporting, being a mother is a greater factor: she and her husband, Emmanuel, an orthopedic surgeon, have two children, an 11-year-old son, Ga- briel, and an 8-year-old daughter, Paloma. When reporting on the infux of refugee children from Central America into the United States, she looks at the issue from the perspective of a mother parting with her children and sending them unaccompanied to O ne Sunday this past summer, Sunny Hostin was greet- ing guests at the restaurant she and her husband own in New Rochelle, New York, Alvin & Friends. (Wonder- ing how in the world she has time to run a restaurant? "Sleep is overrated," she says.) The restaurant was expecting a private party that day, nothing out of the ordinary. Then, Hostin saw a clutch of black government cars drive up and Secret Service agents spill out. To her delight, she discovered that Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor was on the scene, celebrating her birthday. "I just freaked out," says Hostin. "She was my hero. Our stories are so similar—prosecuting attorneys, raised in the South Bronx by Puerto Rican mothers. I had followed her whole career, not just on the Supreme Court, but from when she was on the federal bench in New York. "As she entered the restaurant, I went up to her and said, 'Hi! I'm one of the owners of the restaurant and I'm so honored that you would choose to celebrate your birthday here.' "Sonia said, 'I know who you are. I am thrilled to meet you! I watch you on CNN all the time.' Then she paused and said, 'Oh my God, are you Latin?' It was probably one of the best moments of my life." A Supreme Thrill give them a better life. "I don't look at it as a border crisis," she says. "I look at it through a humanitarian lens. If a mother would take a chance sending her child alone to America, then her situa- tion must be very dire." Even as her career has taken of, Hostin still frets. Could she be efecting more change? Should she return to the U.S. attor- neys' ofce and head up the child sex crimes unit, for example? Recently, Hostin talked with Anderson Cooper's executive producer at CNN, Charlie Moore, and voiced her reservations. He told her, "You are able to reach millions of people. Tat gives you a great platform. Tis is your life's work." "Tat completely changed my perspective," she says. "I fnally realized that being a legal analyst, bringing the judicial system to so many people, is in and of itself important work. Tat platform also makes Hostin a role model—or, as she pre- fers to call it, "a possibility model." "I believe in leading by example. Leaders have to be authentic, make tough decisions, and be honest," Hostin says. "You have to work hard and be selfess. I am motivated by the notion that I can show what's possible. Because there's no way that the kid of teenage parents from the South Bronx should be where I am today. I should've been a statistic. But here I am." DW SYSTEM TO SO MANY PEOPLE, IS IN AND OF ITSELF IMPORTANT WORK. SUNNY HOSTIN PRECEDENT SETTER

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