Those of you who know me well, know that I rarely watch TV, unless its sports or game shows with my kids. I particularly don’t watch TV in the afternoon on weekdays. But Wednesday, I found myself in the kitchen baking and turned on CNN.
I was very touched by President Obama’s speech commemorating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington… he delivered the speech fifty years to the minute after Martin Luther King delivered his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech, in the same location on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Pretty cool, right?!
He spoke a lot about courage and encouraged Americans of all colors and faiths to “keep on marching”. There are many things I could say and quote with regard to the speech that inspired me, but what I will say is that in my opinion it was President Obama’s shining moment… the best and most meaningful and inspiring speech that he’s delivered since he’s been in office.
That night, I felt compelled to turn on CNN again, and caught Anderson Cooper’s (AC360) interview of Dr. Maya Angelou. Dr. Angelou is one of the most renowned and influential voices of our time. Whether you’re Republican or Democrat, no matter the color of your skin, or your faith and beliefs, it would have been very hard not to be moved by the interview. If you missed it, you can view it here……..
I have loved Maya Angelou since reading her autobiography “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”, many years ago for a college course. I have subsequently read many of her other books. She is an amazing, inspiring, brilliant woman and I relished in every moment of the interview. I woke-up this morning still thinking about it and briefly fantasized that “if Maya Angelou knew of me and my company’s mission, and understood my hopes, she would genuinely admire and respect me”… I was tickled by the thought and it made me smile!
Much of what Dr. Angelou said during the brilliant interview deeply resonated with me… I submit the following:
When asked about the state of equality, Dr. Angelou said:
“The decision is, I am a human being; nothing human can be alien to me. Until we come to that, we will not have parity, it’s very clear.”
Mr. Cooper then asked, “So you don’t think that has occurred?”
“No. I know it hasn’t and you know it hasn’t and anybody who is listening to you knows that it hasn’t! People have to develop courage, it is most important of all the virtues. Without courage you cannot practice any other virtue consistently. You can be anything erratically, and in front of the microphone, in front of the camera, but to be that thing, in your heart you have to have courage. We are lacking in courage. And fear, I’m sorry to say, motivates most of the cruelties in our world.”
Anderson Cooper went on to ask “How does one live with courage?”
Dr. Angelou’s response was “if we never accept any racial pejorative about any other human being, we will develop and gain courage, and each time we do it in small ways, we gain more courage. No one of us can be free until everybody is free. Every one of us needs to say to our children “this is your world, stand-up, earn it, make it a better place, this is your world and your time.”
The President’s speech was very compelling. Dr. Angelou’s interview and statements, as always, rang very true to me. I’d love to hear what part of Wednesday’s speech and subsequent interviews inspired you and made you smile! What resonated with you and what, if any actions will you take to continue “the march”?
What I know for sure is that “we’re all the same, but we’re all different”, and I personally look forward to celebrating that as a society one day! Until then, I’ll just keep “marching” down my path… and blogging about it!
Until next week…