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Maya Angelou...

As a young woman, I went to hear Maya Angelou speak at the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis on an icy cold winter’s night. I had already been inspired in many ways by her first memoir “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” which I found by chance in a bookstore at age seventeen.  Maya Angelou wrote and spoke so eloquently about being “mute” as a child as a result of sexual trauma.  What has always stuck with me was the story of her grandmother believing in her, and the power her grandmother believed her voice would carry some day in the world.  Her grandmother said to her: “Sister, Momma don’t care what these people say, that you must be an idiot, a moron, ’cause you can’t talk. Momma don’t care. Momma know that when you and the good Lord get ready, you gon’ be a teacher.” (Taken from an online interview with Maya Angelou)

And in the nineties when I saw her speaking in person, she was already a wonder to behold, goddess-like in her stature, wisdom, and eloquence.  She spoke of her life story with honesty and courage to large audiences. She showed me that it is possible to journey all the way from mute to glorious. She planted a seed that gave me hope and courage along the way when I may have felt I had no voice. She showed me that no matter how protective or shut down I may have ever felt, I can find the strength to offer what is mine to share instead of hiding it. 

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