Worldview of LeVar Burton

On February 10, 2017, Levar Burton gave the keynote at Rootstech. I wrote about LeVar’s speech at that time, but the video link was removed so most of you never got to see his incredible session. The link has since been permanently (I hope) added here.

I implore you to watch this 22 minute clip of LeVar’s presentation. I guarantee, you’ll leave with a…oh never mind the sales pitch… just trust me and watch the clip:)

I’ve heard a lot of speeches and presentations and I have two words about this one.

Best. Ever.

It’s incredibly inspiring on so many levels. Especially, especially, LeVar’s secret “one minute exercise.” Nope, I’m not telling you. You’ll just have to watch, but here are a few quotes from LeVar:

“I could easily have been one of those statistics…..”

“My mother had hopes for me….and expectations…”

“My mother taught me that there are no limits to what I could accomplish in my life except those that I myself impose.”

“I would be…frustrated with the unfairness of that injustice.” 

“Two most important words in combination in the English language….’What if…’”


“That upon which we focus our imagination is what we manifest in this realm.”

“We stand on the shoulders of those who have come before us.”

“Close your eyes and bring into mind someone who saw you and recognized your brilliance and helped bring it into being.”

“None of us get through this thing called life on our own.”

“God and time are synonymous.”

“Unless we can be still we will never hear that voice of God within.”

“Pay attention, because if we’re not paying attention, we might miss something that is incredibly important that is key to us delivering our gift to the world.”

Your One Minute Person

Please enjoy the video, and when you’re done, tell me in the comments who you brought into your mind in your “one minute of silence,” and why.

I’ll go first.

My step father, because he told me, literally, that I could do anything I set my mind to and to never let anyone tell me otherwise. And he meant it.

He made me recognize the power of possibility and that it resided within me. I never understood the magnitude of that gift in his lifetime, and I sure hope he can hear me now. He changed my life in an instant by empowering me to change my own. It’s the best gift he could ever have given me.



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9 thoughts on “Worldview of LeVar Burton

  1. Inspiring speech. Just one thing ruined an othereise excellent speech for me. Humans evolved by a process of genetic mutation and natural selection over millenia. This is reflected in our dna and can be traced all the way back to the most primitive single celled life forms, our ancestors from billions of years ago, with whom we still share an obvious genetic link. What does an imaginary, invisible sky-deity have to do with a talk on dna?

  2. My paternal grandmother who practiced, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” She was loving and kind to her family and those in her world. She helped those in need. When I was at my greatest need, she was there without judgement. She offered loving support without uttering, “You should…..”

  3. I like Levar Burton, but that speech was boring. I didn’t enjoy anything about it. What it revealed to me is that there are some people who like schmaltz, and some, like me, who don’t. But since you conned me into watching the entire thing, I will say that I had trouble thinking of any one who met his criteria, but finally decided on my middle school history teacher, who encouraged me to read Andersonville by Makinley Kantor. Not many people would recommend that book to a 14-year-old, but he knew I would appreciate it.

  4. Thank you for sharing the link. It’s so amazing that my cousin in L.A. and I were talking this morning on many of the topics Lavar Burton addressed. As to the one minute.. when I was in Kindergarten we “made” a book by cutting out some pre-printed pages, stapling it and coloring it. I added a sentence of my own to it. My Dad took my book to work (he was a plane mechanic at the time) and 5 or 6 of his co-workers wrote wonderful comments like “Good Job!” They didn’t write their names so I’ll never know who they were, but their encouragement led me to become a writer. I’m to the right of 60-years- old now and I still have the “book” and its encouraging affirmations Of course, my parents were super supportive and also gave me the wonderful gift of reading, but it was my father’s co-workers with their anonymous affirmation of my amazingly wonderful work that had an incredible impact on me. Encouragement in all its forms is as Mr. Burton shared in his talk a powerful force for good.

  5. His speech was inspirational, and it needs to be heard and considered. But it is necessary to recognize and to separate imagination and story-telling from that of history or genealogy, and keep fact separate from fiction, without mingling and blurring them. The concepts he expressed are important, but they are those of psychology, psychology and religion, not of genealogy.

  6. Besides the kindness of Mrs. Dial, one of my high school Honors English teachers, who treated me as an equal which greatly boosted my self-confidence, I have to give my minute to my wonderful husband who encouraged me to test for MENSA, and continues to compliment, encourage, and support me in anything I do.

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