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Maya Angelou Speaks in Eisenhower About Hope

Last night, one of literature’s most loved faces spoke in Eisenhower Auditorium to a nearly full house offering wisdom and a surprising amount of laughs. Maya Angelou talked about racism, sexism, and spoke directly to the students asking them to eliminate discrimination.

Angelou repeated one of her favorite quotations,

“I am a human being. Nothing human can be alien to me.”

She spoke directly to audience members and talked about “rainbows in the clouds,” a metaphor for someone’s happiness and hope.

“You have no idea the power you have to be a rainbow in someone’s sky. You have no idea what you can do for another human being by saying ‘good morning.'”

Angelou encouraged the audience to look at “rainbows in the cloud” such as family who have sacrificed to put them where they are today. More practically, she encouraged those in attendance to go to the library, which she bemoaned as being too rarely used. Her hope is a great awareness of our global diversity.

A personal favorite was a poem she read about visiting a vegetarian restaurant and getting belittled for taking out a pack of cigarettes. Titled ‘The Health Food Diner,’ it spoke of her distaste for soya shoots and brussel cakes and her desire for “any place that saves the space for smoking carnivores.”

She is truly one of the most beautiful people I have had the pleasure of being in the presence of. She left us with a poem she read at the 50th anniversary of the United Nations.

“We are the real, true wonders of this world.”

[Photo Credit – Chase Tralka]

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About the Author

Tom Kent

I was born in Virginia Beach, raised in Westfield, NJ, went to college at Penn State, moved to Miami, FL. Peruvian on mom's side and English on my Dad's. I'm a Journalism major and Political Science minor. I do not currently own any reptiles.

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