Friday, November 20, 2009


Yesterday, a girlfriend sent me a link to this site featuring a discussion on Love, Survival and Forgiveness with Liz Murray by Ellie Weiser. Those of you with satellite tv subscriptions would probably have watched the movie "Homeless to Harvard" about the life of Liz Murray. The following is an excerpt from the interview.

Liz Murray grew up with two drug-addicted parents who she began supporting at age 10. Homeless at age 15, after the death of her mother, Liz overcame incredible odds to finish high school in just two years while living on the streets. She was subsequently awarded a full scholarship to Harvard. Liz, a Process graduate, recently shared her story with Light News editor Ellie Weiser. To learn more about Liz, please go to To write to her directly, send email to

ELLIE: Liz, having seen the movie "From Homeless to Harvard" based on your life and having met you, I consider you a leader and a true visionary. Nothing in your childhood was in support of your success. Where did you find your strength?

LIZ: Thank you. The answer, in one word, is love. I was deeply loved grow ing up. While my parents were addicted to drugs, and they often chose drugs over their children, I was constantly embraced, endeared, kissed all over the face, told I was precious and that really stuck with me. I was loved not only by my parents but by my Uncle Arthur, who was a surrogate father.

ELLIE: Did you feel their love during your toughest times?

LIZ: When I was homeless, when my parents died, there were moments where I'd be out there and I'd remember the love I grew up with and the love of my friends, who'd become family to me. It felt like nothing was more important I could go without food, I could have nowhere to sleep but I knew somewhere my friends were waiting for me, and their love was very much like the love I had with my parents.

ELLIE: You lacked even the bare necessities, but you had love, and it pulled you through.

LIZ: Sometimes people grow up with a lot of 'stuff' but they don't have the knowledge that their parents are there for them no matter what. What I've found is that neglect is neglect. My parents weren't around because they were getting high. Other people's parents aren't around because they're in a career and their children come second. Neglect is neglect and if you turn that inside out, love is love, and we would be smart not to get too fixated on the circumstances.

ELLIE: As a child a neighbor gave you a set of encyclopedias that she retrieved from the trash. Did that start your love of learning?

LIZ: My neighbor Mary would go through the garbage and bring me hideous sweat ers and things that were so endearing to me. She brought me the encyclopedias, but I was already a reader because of my father, who earlier in his life had been a Ph.D. candidate in psychology at NYU. He had this great life on the outside, then crashed and burned and went to drugs. But his love of knowledge was always strong. He would take me to the library and check out stacks of books that I read, which he never returned. Because my father read them, books helped me feel connected to him, so I became a lover of books, including the encyclopedias from Mary.

ELLIE: When did your parents become addicts?

LIZ: They were addicted before my birth; my mother used drugs when she was pregnant with me. They were into the "scene" in New York City the disco, party loving, cocaine scene. My father sold my mother drugs at a party and they became a couple from there.

To read the rest of the article, PLEASE CLICK THIS LINK. Thanks and have a nice day!

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