I can clearly remember the day I recited a Maya Angelou poem in front of my church. I was a young girl, and had been assigned to read “Still I Rise” as a part of a summer camp program. I had always been a shy child who feared any unwanted attention. Having to stand up, front and center, before a large group of people was something I feared. Here I was, having to live one of my worst nightmares.
I stood on stage, my legs wobbling beneath me uncontrollably. As I started the first line, my voice wavered. I’ll rise. I couldn’t believe I was doing it; speaking in front of a group of people. I focused on a spot on the back wall as the words flowed from my memory. I’ll rise. For a brief second I looked away from the spot, and discovered many faces smiling back at me encouragingly. I’ll rise. I pushed through the poem, my voice getting stronger and more confident line by line. Even though at that time I didn’t understand every part of poem, I could feel the power of the words pulsing through me. I rise, I rise, I rise.