What Maya Angelou Taught Me

Who We Are | 02/01/2019

Jacquelyn Dortch
National Director of Training and Organizational Support

Maya Angelou taught me how to keep going. She was born and raised in a difficult time for African Americans, yet she used her voice to triumph and overcome racial injustice and personal tragedy. Her poem, “Still I Rise,” is a ballad of resilience that guided me through dark chapters in my own life. 

Maya taught me that my words hold power, and that I too can stand up and use my voice for good.

This Black History Month, I’m thinking of Maya and many other African Americans who made great sacrifices and strides in the face of adversity and oppression.

To celebrate these heroes, tell us about someone who has inspired you and been a role model for your accomplishments in school, career, or community activism.

Maya was determined to live beyond her circumstances and show up in life boldly, unapologetically and with pen and paper in tow. So when life starts to beat me down, I think to myself “get your Maya on,” then I grab my pen and special journal and find healing through words.

“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.”

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