“Breaking Night” (Murray, 2010)
At the age of 16, Liz Murray was homeless. Born to two parents who were both drug addicts in the 1980’s, Liz and her sister found themselves caring for one another. Living in the Bronx gave Liz the skills to steal. Shoplifting food for her and her sister were a necessity. Later she would discover that the self-help books she lifted and read would attribute to her success in the future.
Liz was 15 when her mother told her she was HIV positive. Liz found herself caring for her mother and father during their withdrawals. She recalls that she had to drop out of school because of the taunting by the other students. Without the proper hygiene at home, Liz often had head lice and her clothes were soiled and soured. Liz and her sister split a tube of toothpaste for dinner after having both parent sell their Thanksgiving turkey for a drug hit.
At 16, Liz’s mother had died of aids. Her father couldn’t pay the rent and they were evicted. Her father went to the homeless shelter and her sister went to a friend’s sofa. Liz lived in hallways, subways and park benches. “Reading or sleeping in a warm bed, going to a diner and ordering anything I want off the menu. When I was on the street, drugs or crime didn’t seem like options because they seemed so damn uncomfortable. I was how hard that life was going to be. I didn’t want to live like that.” (Murray, 2012, p.1)
Working jobs and studying days and nights at night school, Liz obtained her diploma in two years instead of 4. Liz applied for the college scholarship from The New York Times. Liz was accepted to Harvard. It began with The New York Times and led to the Oprah Winfrey Show. From there Liz knew “Yeah, I have something I need to share with people. A gift, a calling, something. It's my belief that your gift doesn't belong to you. It's something you're supposed to share." (Murray, 2012, p.1) Liz left college to do just that. Then, in 2006, Liz returned to...
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