Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly named the moderator of this lecture. David Levine, Elon Law professor, moderated the Feb. 9 talk with Sunny Hostin. Elon News Network regrets this error.
Elon University School of Law welcomed co-host of “The View” Sunny Hostin on Feb. 9 as part of its Distinguished Leadership Lecture Series.
David Levine, Elon Law professor, moderated the conversation, where the three-time Emmy Award-winning journalist spoke on her childhood, early career, social justice, the importance of media and her autobiography, “I Am These Truths.”
Born a year after a unanimous Supreme Court struck down state laws banning marriage between individuals of different races in Loving v. Virginia, Hostin shared her own experience and hardships faced being born into a interracial family.
“There weren't a lot of families that looked like ours,” Hostin said. “I learned quickly that I was considered different and I looked different and we were considered different.”
Hostin said her childhood was “joyful,” but the way her family looked subjected them to harassment and mistreatment. Despite this, Hostin said those hardships made her the person she is today.
Hostin was the first person in her family to graduate high school and attend college, which she accomplished at 16 years old. She credited the support and hard work of her parents as the reason she was able to accomplish so much so young.
After she graduated college, Hostin said she faced a lot of confusion. She studied communications and was planning to go into broadcast media, but her mom encouraged her to intern at a law firm.
Hostin’s life took a huge turn — she discovered her passion for law while serving on a jury in a high-profile murder case.
“I urge you when you get your jury duty notice to go,” Hostin said. “It is an invaluable experience to see how the justice system in this country works.”
Hostin then served as a prosecutor in New York City, a path she said was made more challenging because she is a Black woman.
“I wasn't just concerned about the win. I was worried about justice. … When I hear people still, to this day, make that criticism to Black and female prosecutors, I think about when I was talking to the vice president, and Kamala Harris gave a very similar answer to mine, which is, ’you want me in that courtroom, you need me in that courtroom,’” Hostin said.
Throughout her talk, Hostin said it’s important to see more people of color in similar positions to hers, especially in the news media. She wants to be a role model for young people of color.
The next Elon Law Lecture is April 12 at the Carolina Theatre in Greensboro. Registration is free for everyone.