Still We Rise | Project HOME

Still We Rise

"While children are dying from an epidemic of gun violence in schools, we should not forget the 1,300 children who die and the nearly 6,000 who are injured from gun violence in our streets every year in the United States."

Yesterday, at our weekly Inspirational Meeting, members of the Project HOME community gathered to honor Black History Month. Lisa Armstrong, one of our residential Program Managers, and Cassie Anderson, a resident at 1515 Fairmount Avenue, led the program, which featured Lisa’s reflections and a reading of poetry by Maya Angelou.


We are still in a struggle to amply our voices to reshape our narrative – and reshaping is required.  We should think twice about the story we tell ourselves and the story others tell about us. 

Contemporaries like Colin Kaepernick who made a stand to end police violence have had their voices silenced by a misleading narrative.  While the opioid epidemic silences a generation, we should not forget a generation who died in a crack epidemic two decades earlier. While children are dying from an epidemic of gun violence in schools, we should not forget the 1,300 children who die and the nearly 6,000 who are injured from gun violence in our streets every year in the United States.

Today, Cassie and I both chose poems from Maya Angelou. These poems remind us that we are not alone in the work to continue amplifying our voices to gain justice for ALL human beings while nurturing the narrative that we are a beautiful, gifted, proud, and resilient people.

 

Poetry by Maya Angelou

ALONE

Lying, thinking
Last night
How to find my soul a home
Where water is not thirsty
And bread loaf is not stone
I came up with one thing
And I don’t believe I’m wrong
That nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

There are some millionaires
With money they can’t use
Their wives run round like banshees
Their children sing the blues
They’ve got expensive doctors
To cure their hearts of stone.
But nobody
No, nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Now if you listen closely
I’ll tell you what I know
Storm clouds are gathering
The wind is gonna blow
The race of man is suffering
And I can hear the moan,
‘Cause nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.


STILL I RISE

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.