Bernstein

Tylah Fortson, Editor/Writer

A lot of shuffling, chatting, and fidgeting went on as everyone awaited their guest. Everyone took their places, and found their roles as they watched the broadcast crew set up the lights and cameras. There was an overwhelming mutual feeling of anxiousness. No one fully calmed down until the broadcast crew started the hour and a half long interview.

Richard Bernstein’s presence seemed to dissipate everyone’s nerves. He was extremely humbled. He came in dressed in a black suit, blue shirt, and red tie. His tie was a great symbol. It stood out, and despite his acknowledgement of “never feeling like he fit in”, one could easily tell that it was because he wasn’t meant to. He was meant to be a red tie on a plain blue shirt.

He sat across from sophomore Isabella Crook and Senior Jessica Phillips as they gave their interview. He was open, honest, and thorough as he answered every question. He jumped started the interview himself saying to Isabella, “Okay! I’m all yours.” Then proceeding to answer the first question by clarifying his title, he said, “Well, the title would be Justice, if you want to be formal. If you want to be informal, you can go with Richard. It’s completely up to your discretion.” Justice Bernstein was noticeably making the interview something lightweight and showing everyone how at ease they could be around him.

As the interview went on, anyone watching from the outside could tell how engrossed everyone was with Bernstein. He talked of his job, of course, his time in law school, and he spoke of his family and how close they are. But what was least expected was the sincerity of his words as he reminisced over his middle school and high school days.

“I have to confess, to me high school and middle was a very difficult time, being the only blind person in my school, being the only person who always stood out. I didn’t fit in. I had a hard time- kind of- finding my place and trying to figure out who I was.” Watching a man with so much going for him presently and so much waiting for him in the future talk of how lost he was back in the day was inspiring. He sealed his confession by saying, “No matter how hard things are right now, I can promise each and every one of you; things only get better.”

The interview often times got personal for Bernstein. But he never shied away from the questions. In fact, he welcomed them, thanking Isabella because the questions were, as he put it, “thought provoking and connecting.” At one point, she asked him,  “You’re blind since birth, what was it like growing up as the only on in your family that faced that challenge and in school, how hard was that?”

His response was that, “I think that the biggest challenge is always being different. And I think that what you have to believe is that when you’re born with a disability, you have to believe that you were born with a mission, or a purpose, or for a reason. We might not understand or appreciate why things happen to us. But I’ve just come to believe that our lives are defined by the experiences we have. You have to believe that everything that happens, happens for a reason.”

He talked with conviction. A lot of people believe that lawyers become lawyers for the monetary gain. In a lot of situations, lawyers can be seen representing anyone if the pay is right. While that is a bonus, it was not the reason for Justice Bernstein’s interest in law. “I’ve always believed that the law can be a great catalyst for change. And that if the law is used correctly, it can really help people.”

Occasionally, the camera crew would adjust the lights and camera. But Justice Bernstein never broke character. It was easy to tell that he was the same charismatic person on and off the camera. He believed every word he spoke and wanted us to believe him too.

Outside of the office though, Justice Bernstein was an athlete. That’s not something many people hear everyday, a blind person being an athlete, but it’s what he does. Justice Bernstein enjoys running in marathons. Of course, he doesn’t run alone, but with a seeing guide. He spoke of when the idea was brought to him and how he didn’t understand the possibility. He said that because he was a blind person, he always thought sports were impossible for him.

At this point in the interview, Phillips’ presence became prominent as she went from sitting silently to obviously nodding in agreement to Justice Bernstein’s words.

In high school, even in gym, he was sent straight to the sidelines. Effectively, for a long time, causing to believe that being involved in sports was out of his reach. But in his adult years, he came to the realization that, “nothing is impossible. I really think that the only things a blind person can’t do is drive a car, and with the level of technology and sophistication we’re seeing, I think that will eventually be remedied.”

He never lets anything stop him from his goals. Even, at some point, he spoke of his involvement in an accident. He was hit with a bike during a run and had to have hip surgery. But he didn’t allow even that to stop him. To this day, Bernstein runs and swims and finishes every marathon. Everyone is not born with that kind of persistence, but Justice Bernstein sees the potential in all of the teens of this generation. He mentioned during the interview that, “you are living in the greatest time ever because you are limited by nothing.”

By the end of the interview, Isabella, Jessica, and everyone listening and watching, was satisfied with the interview’s turn out. Not only did Bernstein give everyone a chance to evaluate him, he gave everyone a chance to evaluate themselves.

A lot of shuffling, chatting, and fidgeting went on as everyone awaited their guest. Everyone took their places, and found their roles as they watched the broadcast crew set up the lights and cameras. There was an overwhelming mutual feeling of anxiousness. No one fully calmed down until the broadcast crew started the hour and a half long interview.

Richard Bernstein’s presence seemed to dissipate everyone’s nerves. He was extremely humbled. He came in dressed in a black suit, blue shirt, and red tie. His tie was a great symbol. It stood out, and despite his acknowledgement of “never feeling like he fit in”, one could easily tell that it was because he wasn’t meant to. He was meant to be a red tie on a plain blue shirt.

He sat across from sophomore Isabella Crook and Senior Jessica Phillips as they gave their interview. He was open, honest, and thorough as he answered every question. He jumped started the interview himself saying to Isabella, “Okay! I’m all yours.” Then proceeding to answer the first question by clarifying his title, he said, “Well, the title would be Justice, if you want to be formal. If you want to be informal, you can go with Richard. It’s completely up to your discretion.” Justice Bernstein was noticeably making the interview something lightweight and showing everyone how at ease they could be around him.

As the interview went on, anyone watching from the outside could tell how engrossed everyone was with Bernstein. He talked of his job, of course, his time in law school, and he spoke of his family and how close they are. But what was least expected was the sincerity of his words as he reminisced over his middle school and high school days.

“I have to confess, to me high school and middle was a very difficult time, being the only blind person in my school, being the only person who always stood out. I didn’t fit in. I had a hard time- kind of- finding my place and trying to figure out who I was.” Watching a man with so much going for him presently and so much waiting for him in the future talk of how lost he was back in the day was inspiring. He sealed his confession by saying, “No matter how hard things are right now, I can promise each and every one of you; things only get better.”

The interview often times got personal for Bernstein. But he never shied away from the questions. In fact, he welcomed them, thanking Isabella because the questions were, as he put it, “thought provoking and connecting.” At one point, she asked him,  “You’re blind since birth, what was it like growing up as the only on in your family that faced that challenge and in school, how hard was that?”

His response was that, “I think that the biggest challenge is always being different. And I think that what you have to believe is that when you’re born with a disability, you have to believe that you were born with a mission, or a purpose, or for a reason. We might not understand or appreciate why things happen to us. But I’ve just come to believe that our lives are defined by the experiences we have. You have to believe that everything that happens, happens for a reason.”

He talked with conviction. A lot of people believe that lawyers become lawyers for the monetary gain. In a lot of situations, lawyers can be seen representing anyone if the pay is right. While that is a bonus, it was not the reason for Justice Bernstein’s interest in law. “I’ve always believed that the law can be a great catalyst for change. And that if the law is used correctly, it can really help people.”

Occasionally, the camera crew would adjust the lights and camera. But Justice Bernstein never broke character. It was easy to tell that he was the same charismatic person on and off the camera. He believed every word he spoke and wanted us to believe him too.

Outside of the office though, Justice Bernstein was an athlete. That’s not something many people hear everyday, a blind person being an athlete, but it’s what he does. Justice Bernstein enjoys running in marathons. Of course, he doesn’t run alone, but with a seeing guide. He spoke of when the idea was brought to him and how he didn’t understand the possibility. He said that because he was a blind person, he always thought sports were impossible for him.

At this point in the interview, Phillips’ presence became prominent as she went from sitting silently to obviously nodding in agreement to Justice Bernstein’s words.

In high school, even in gym, he was sent straight to the sidelines. Effectively, for a long time, causing to believe that being involved in sports was out of his reach. But in his adult years, he came to the realization that, “nothing is impossible. I really think that the only things a blind person can’t do is drive a car, and with the level of technology and sophistication we’re seeing, I think that will eventually be remedied.”

He never lets anything stop him from his goals. Even, at some point, he spoke of his involvement in an accident. He was hit with a bike during a run and had to have hip surgery. But he didn’t allow even that to stop him. To this day, Bernstein runs and swims and finishes every marathon. Everyone is not born with that kind of persistence, but Justice Bernstein sees the potential in all of the teens of this generation. He mentioned during the interview that, “you are living in the greatest time ever because you are limited by nothing.”

By the end of the interview, Isabella, Jessica, and everyone listening and watching, was satisfied with the interview’s turn out. Not only did Bernstein give everyone a chance to evaluate him, he gave everyone a chance to evaluate themselves.

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