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Maya Angelou: Just Do Right


By Carlos Diego Sanchez

Maya Angelou said in an interview, “Right may not be expedient, it may not be profitable, but it will satisfy your soul. It brings you the kind of protection that body guards can’t give you.  Try to be all that you can be. Be the best human being you can be. Try to be in your church, in your temple, in your classroom. Do it because it is right to do.” This month I would like to honor Maya Angelou for all which she has done. From poems such as “Still I Rise” to books such as “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” she has shown how strength of character and love of literature can help overcome racism and trauma. In her interviews I can just listen to the wisdom she gives and listen to her soul speak. It is now going on six years in May since Angelou has left this earth but she will never be forgotten. She has taught me to be aware of the impact I leave on people. Angelou taught me to be cognizant of how I make people feel because that is what they will remember me by. I also carry her teachings of not living life just to survive but to thrive. To live a life with passion, compassion, humor and style. She embodied courage, beauty, and eloquence. Angelou overcame racism and trauma throughout her life. She persevered throughout some of the most tense times in American history. She was a woman of color living in a time where Jim Crow laws existed and women were not considered to be leaders of America. Angelou overcame limitations and now is considered an influential person and was recognized as a recipient of the presidential medal of freedom. Angelou said, “People will know you. They will add their prayers to your life. They will wish you well. I think if your name is mentioned and they say, “oh hell or oh damn” I think you’re doing something wrong, but if your name is mentioned and people say “she’s so sweet, he’s so nice, oh i love her, God bless her” try to live your life in a way you will not regret. Years of useless virtue, inertia, or timidity.” This quote resonates with me because I think of people at my funeral one day. When they remember me I don’t want them to have to lie and say I was a good person. I want to be the person who is missed and will be remembered for the good things I have done. Instead of leaving an impact where people will only have negative things to say, Angelou has taught me to be the person I want to be remembered as. Just do right.