As a young Black Girl growing up on a Caribbean Island; I didn’t know racism. I stumbled upon it for the very first time in a small town outside of Fort Polk, Louisiana while serving in the Army. From then, I confronted it head on whenever I thought I saw it.
I recited Maya Angelou’s poem, Still I Rise during a Black History program at my place of employment. The poem seemed to reflect some of my experiences at work. I was eager to recite the poem to say to my haters, Still I rise! This poem has empowered me to rise above periods rooted in pain. This poem is a foundation for Black women to believe in themselves. Often times many are taken back by our overconfidence and we have to say to them:
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
Still I Rise, known as Maya Angelou’s best poem has a meaning that transcends even in her death. A conversation with a friend about her prompted us to re-read, “I know why the caged birds sing.” It is her autobiography about her early years. In the course of this book, she transforms from a victim of racism to become a dignified woman. Still, she rise!
Maya Angelou's existence has taught us that we too can be phenomenal. Her memorial service was held yesterday. She died May 28th, 2014. During Oprah Winfrey’s and First Lady Michelle Obama’s tribute, still she rise!
More from living