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A Beautiful Resistance | Jeneé Osterheldt

The Hispanic history I carry with me: Catherine McKenzie

A Beautiful Resistance celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month and Latino joy, as told to Jeneé Osterheldt

The beautiful resistance of Catherine McKenzie, executive producer of “GMA3: What You Need to Know” and ABC News Live.ABC/ Heidi Gutman

Catherine McKenzie knows TV.

For more than 25 years, she has helped shape news coverage, telling the everyday stories of us, never shying away from topics both hard and soft.

Last year, she was one of the executive producers of the Emmy-award winning show, “Soul of a Nation,” bringing real conversations on race, identity, and culture into our homes on primetime.

The ABC News Live executive producer believes in the power of people sharing their stories, in their words, and what it means for us to learn from one another.

My life is a beautiful resistance because I am a writer to the first draft of history…a journalist.


The Hispanic history I carry with me is empanadas, mac and cheese, both of my great-grandfathers helping to build the Panama canal and living to tell about it, and what my mother said to me everyday before going to school that still rings in my head to this day: “Lo que se aprende nunca se olvida,” what you learn well you never forget.

What gives you joy?

A good conversation with my mom or a good friend, live music, seeing others succeed, seeing myself succeed, chocolate, a Packers or Yankees win (Am I allowed to say that in the Globe?)

Executive producer of “GMA3: What You Need to Know,” ABC News Live, and episodes of “Soul of a Nation,” too? What does it mean to you to help shape such important coverage?

Everything. That I, a midwestern girl — who grew up the child of immigrants — has the privilege to lead our talented teams in telling straightforward stories that depict humanity, or shed light on an issue, or bring someone a smile, it means everything. I am so lucky. I love what I do. I love reporting, putting a piece or a show together from start to finish? I feel like it was what I was born to do.


Why is journalism so important to equity and representation?

I love the movies and TV, and representation is important there. But being able to show people themselves and share their real stories with America is important because it’s how we create understanding.

It’s how we build respect for each other’s differences, share each other’s pain and outrage, celebrate each other’s success, and get inspired when we hear the story of someone triumphing over adversity. It’s important as we lay down this first draft of history — that we tell everyone’s story — we represent the beauty that is the tapestry that makes America one of the greatest countries in the world. When we can tell diverse stories we only make our viewers, listeners, and streamers smarter and more compassionate to those around them.

Jeneé Osterheldt can be reached at jenee.osterheldt@globe.com and on Twitter @sincerelyjenee and on Instagram @abeautifulresistance.