A Hero to Motivate All of Us

March 6, 2011
By Caseybug BRONZE, Alpine, New Jersey
Caseybug BRONZE, Alpine, New Jersey
3 articles 3 photos 0 comments

“One day life is going to be better”; those were the words that Liz Murray’s mother lived by until the day she passed away from AIDS. Murray, the author of the New York Times best seller, “Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard”, was abandoned in her adolescence when her father moved to a homeless shelter leaving Liz to live on the dangerous Bronx streets. Murray’s parents were both cocaine addicts. She loved her parents, but saw what years of drug dependency had done to them. Murray recalls her parents stealing her birthday money, pawning their television set, and selling the food given to them by the church to score cocaine. She often had to go days without food, eating ice cubes and toothpaste to quench their hunger. As a young teenager, Murray had to take care of her mother as she underwent drug withdrawal, and ultimately died from AIDS. In her own words, Murray was “one of those people on the streets you walk away from.”
This struggle, along with the ridicule of her classmates about her clothes and hygiene, proved too much for Murray and she dropped out of high school. Upon her mother’s death, and after her father left to live in a shelter, courageous Liz decided that she would not end up like her parents, but instead strive for the better life her mother often spoke of. Despite the odds against her, Murray excelled in academics and won a New York Times scholarship to attend Harvard. She graduated from Harvard in 2009, and today Murray is the founder and director of Manifest Living, a company that empowers adults to achieve their dreams and attain a new standard of living. She is also an inspirational speaker, talking to teenagers about the dangers of drugs and using her rags-to-riches story to motivate people worldwide to see how their life can also be better one day.
Murray inspires me, not only for all she has achieved, but also for how she works to help others seeking a better life. Murray serves as a role model to demonstrate that passion can overcome the most dire circumstances. She refused to be labeled as anything, but a woman who wanted a better life. Murray has been homeless, a daddy’s little girl, a brave teenager, an “A” student, a Harvard graduate, a writer, a key-note speaker, a traveler, a friend, a presenter of the Dalai Lama, a mentor, a leader and a symbol of hope. She is a hero who has used her success to spark inspiration in others each and every day. Murray energizes me to believe that if she accomplished what she has; then maybe I can take on the world and do something great with my life as well.

The author's comments:
My school has an annual contest to name the main building on campus after a hero or inspirational figure. This essay was my entry.

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This article has 2 comments.

on Apr. 1 2011 at 10:26 am
i feel sorry 4 murray because his mom died of aids and also he doesnt have any body to take care hi

on Mar. 23 2011 at 10:28 am
this book is very sad and intersting i feel so very sorry 4 murray


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