Liz: We Heart The Ling and Lee Families

I can’t imagine anything more terrifying than getting word that one of my sisters was being held in prison in a country far away for an unspecified crime. But that’s what’s happening now to our Satellite Sister Lisa Ling. Her sister Laura and Laura’s colleague Euna Lee were sentenced to 12 years at hard labor today in North Korea.

Read Lian’s post below and you’ll see that we Dolan girls do feel connected to the Ling sisters. And as it happens, I was with Lisa and her mother at lunch on Friday.

One thing I love about Lisa Ling is that she is a do-er. She travels the world, busts stories open and brings important information home to us. She takes us places I would be too afraid to go on my own. For me, she is the definition of intrepid.

So you can imagine how awful it is for such a do-er to be trapped at home unable to do anything for her sister.

We were together Friday because Lisa was honored at a fundraiser for the organization Step Up Women’s Network. (As it happens, we have featured this organization on Satellite Sisters, too!) Lisa is developing a television show where I work now, OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, which is why we were seated together.

Lisa and her mother have not been out much. They’ve been afraid that any public statements they could make would only inflame an unpredictable, dangerous situation. On Friday, she said that she had really been hoping NOT to be at the event. The family had their bags packed and waiting by the front door. They pushed to attend the trial in North Korea. But, no. They were not allowed.

She’s had just one letter from here sister during the months she has been held. Imagine the worry and the pain.

Lisa is an amazing, strong, dignified person. So is her mother. The entire ballroom honored both of them with a long, warm sustained standing ovation and as Lisa wound her way through the crowd, there were many hugs, hand squeezes and truly heartfelt wishes of support.

I hope on this difficult day when the sentence has been rendered they can feel some of that warmth and love and the spirit of Satellite Sisterhood.