Ministerial Muses—Gwen Ifill, where did you go?

Posted November 20th, 2016 by anna and filed in Ministerial Muses
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My first thought when I heard was, “How could you leave us now when we need you the most?”

Selfish, self-serving, and short-sighted though it was, it was also reflective of the climate that followed the presidential election. And, as it turned out, Gwen was there for us as she has been for decades, to light the path ahead for those who choose to see beyond the drama that continues to keep the masses mesmerized.

I got a knot in my stomach when I noticed her absence on election eve. And Judy Woodruff’s grief stricken face as PBS Newshour acknowledged her passing, reflected my feelings on her loss completely, without a word needeing to be spoken.

Then I realized that sitting in her seat was a next-generation, male immigrant, Hari Sreenivasan. His low-key confidence bespoke the fact that he had earned that chair according to Gwen’s standards — and her choice did her proud as the Newshour began a sad but positive transition to the next level.

In a time when the news media seems to have sunk to a new low, Gwen’s hundreds of mentees stepped forward to speak of her, without exception, in terms of their personal loss (rather than their self-engrandizement) and the legacy they valued and hoped to live up to.

As all this unfolds, I can’t help but wonder how equality in this country might be different if Whitney Young had been healthier and able to continue his fight for equality in the boardroom. But that’s another PBS story.

Lastly, I come to realize that when I turned on the PBS Newshour, I didn’t do so thinking that I was supporting a female journalist or an Afro-American journalist. I relaxed as I tuned PBS in and let my guard down to listen to a woman whom I trusted to tell me her observations honestly and from a thoroughly researched perspective. May those she gave a leg up to continue to honor her by measuring the job they do according to her standards — until they develop standards that surpass hers. (And that would be the greatest way to honor her.)

Godspeed on the next leg of your journey, Gwen. I am so grateful that you touched my life for as long as you did. We will miss you. But then, you’re not really gone, are you?

MESSAGE FROM THE GUIDES… Turmoil comes in the wake of recent changes. Ignore the chaos. Do your own thing and wait for it to be over.

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