Maya Angelou, a one of a kind daring and uplifting messenger

Her writings told us about the loneliness, the hurt, the despair that a minority woman in America experienced. Yet, Maya Angelou also wrote about uplifting…

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Maya Angelou, a one of a kind daring and uplifting messenger

Maya Angelou died at age 86 in her home. She had been frail and suffering from heart complications. (AP Photo)

Her writings told us about the loneliness, the hurt, the despair that a minority woman in America experienced.

Yet, Maya Angelou also wrote about uplifting aspects of life that keep us going and help make something better of ourselves. Ms. Angelou had immense talent in expressing her thoughts and emotions that made many of us take notice and contemplate about our own lives.

Through her poetry and storytelling she became the anchor for the African American community in responding to years of painful oppression.

But her work also served as the inspiration for many minority writers, especially Hispanics, who clearly took her lead in expressing their own thoughts and emotions much the same way as Ms. Angelou did beginning in 1969 with her memoir, “ I Know why the Caged Bird Sings.”

SEE ALSO: Inspiring quotes to uplift your day

Lucky for us Ms. Angelou, as many first time writers tend to do, did not stop with her first memoir, but kept on writing.

There was much more she wanted to share with the world about her own personal experience and survival from being raped at the age of seven by her mother’s boyfriend to getting pregnant at the age of sixteen, to experiencing the dark side of America’s prejudice, to becoming the first African American female cable car conductor. One doesn’t have to be African American to learn from Ms. Angelou.

As Hispanics we can relate to Maya Angelou’s life (after all ,her brother Bailey gave her the nickname Maya after he read a book about the Maya Indians) – our community at large has experienced up close and personal, the dark side of America’s prejudice There are women in our community who were raped by a mother’s boyfriend and even a relative.

We’ve performed jobs we didn’t want but because of the limitations placed upon us by the ruling elite, consequently many of us became victims in an oppressed, caged world where we couldn’t escape except through marriage, which in many instances turned out worse, or death.

Yet, we have countless Hispanic women that much like Ms. Angelou did, keep going until they find their peace and become part of a world ready to embrace them and appreciate their talent.

Maya Angelou speaks at the Miami International Book Fair in 1986.

Maya Angelou addresses the public at the Miami International Book Fair in 1986, hosted by Miami-Dade College. (Courtesy: Miami-Dade College)

Much like Ms. Angelou we have courageous women everywhere and in the Hispanic community where the number of school drop outs and teen pregnancies continue at an all time high, they are even more needed to serve as role models.

In one of her quotes, Ms. Angelou talks about courage which has served as an inspiration to me and I am sure others. “One isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.”

Needless to say Ms. Angelou touched many of us with her special messages through her writings and teachings. It is a testament to her work that she earned a permanent place in America, especially in academia. Many schools are named in her honor, among them an elementary school in Miami that is primarily attended by Hispanics.

How fortunate it is for these students to learn firsthand about the life and times of Maya Angelou. These students and others like them are our country’s future, and they will be that much more inspired and prepared to carry on her legacy that should be preserved for generations to come.

SEE ALSO: Maya Angelou opens health center for women