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Combatting Hate: On The AME Massacre

This wasn’t my planned blog post for this Friday. However, in the wake of the AME shooting, I felt it appropriate to share words of inspiration that helped me cope with this national tragedy. I hope they help you too.

 

The older I get, the more I seek wisdom from books. Every day, I try to set aside an hour to read and learn from people who have experienced life before me. Today, Maya Angelou’s poem, “And Still I Rise,” immediately gripped my spirit upon awaking to the news of the AME shooting.

You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may  trod me in the very dirt

But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?

Why are you beset with gloom?

‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells

Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,

With the certainty of tides,

Just like hopes springing high,

Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?

Bowed head and lowered eyes?

Shoulders falling down like teardrops,

Weakened by my soulful cries?

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 backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

Bust 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?

Out of the huts of history’s shame

I rise

Up from a past that’s rooted in pain

I rise

I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,

Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind the nights of terror and fear

I rise

Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear

I rise

Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,

I am the dream and the hope of the slave.

I rise

I rise

I rise.

-“And Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou

This poem is so important to me. Why? Because it encapsulates one of life’s most important lessons often reiterated by the giants of mankind: in the face of evil, rise anyway. Access your inner power and KEEP RISING.

I rise by owning and operating a respectable business that my customers love. I help my community rise by promoting the beauty of afro-textured hair. I rise by working on my inner self, making conscious improvements to who I am every day. I help my community rise by contracting out work to those who are part of my community.

JUST KEEP RISING.

Not only is this self-love some of the greatest nourishment you can give your soul, but YOUR rise is a personal defeat to those who prefer your inferiority.

To those who lost their lives on Wednesday night, I will keep rising in honor of you.

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