Maya Angelou was a force in literature, poetry, and culture. She embodied and expressed a shared sense of empowerment, lending her strength and words to help others rise out of struggle toward a greater sense of belonging and self-acceptance. In honor of her passing, we brought her poem Still I Rise inside to share with the women and to foster discussion on the impact of her writing and her life.
What followed was powerful. We shared what we knew about her, her quotes, favorite lines, what change she wrought. Most often, women would motion to their hearts and say things like, “She inspired me,” or “She was so strong.” Sometimes the power of a poem is not direct, its impact unclear. When we write, we may even suffer doubt that poems matter or do any healing work in this world. That was not the case here; not her work, not this poem.