This Week’s Woman of the Week is:
Maya Angelo – April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014
Maya Angelo born Marguerite Annie Johnson was a Civil Rights Activists, Poet, Actress and Writer. She published several autobiographies, books of poetry, and three books of essays. She has been credited with a list of movies, plays and television shows spanning 50 years.
She is best known for her autobiographies and in particular, I Know Why the Caged Birds Sing, published in 1969 and tells of her life up to the age of seventeen. It brought her international recognition. In the book she tells how she was severely raped at the age of eight and her sense of responsibility when her rapist was found dead because she thought by calling his name she had caused his death. The traumatic event caused her to go mute for five years.
Maya was the first black female streetcar conductor in San Francisco. She was participant in the civil rights movement working alongside the likes of Malcolm X and later Martin Luther King. Maya held many jobs during her lifetime including working as a dancer, calypso singer, fry cook, prostitute and as manager for lesbians, magazine editor, actress, and administrative assistant. Maya was the recipient of many awards.
Her poem ‘Still I Rise’ speaks to every woman who thinks she can’t rise above her situation.
Still I Rise
BY MAYA ANGELOU
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
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
Heartiest tribute to this woman whose words of wisdom lives on.
My message today is for you to stop playing the victim card. Instead of accepting your role as the victim of a relationship ask yourself, how can I take back control of my life?
My belief is that God did not create anyone so weak that he or she lack the strength to deal with life. Change your mindset and think VICTOR instead of VICTIM. Think I CAN instead of I CAN’T.
I am telling you today that you possess the strength within you. Dig deep, find it and change your life.
This Week’s Woman of the Week is:
Malala was born in Pakistan on July 12, 1997. She is a human rights activist who is well known for standing up for the education of women in her country where at times the Taliban banned girls from attending school.
At the young age of 11-12 she wrote a blog anonymously for the BBC detailing her life during the Taliban occupation of Swat. She rose in prominence and gave interviews in print media and on television. She was nominated for the International Children Peace Prize by Desmond Tutu and was also the youngest recipient of the Nobel Prize.
On October 9, 2012 Malala was wounded in a murder attempt by the Taliban. She was left unconscious and in a critical condition at the Rawalpindi Institite of Cardiology. Her condition improved enough for her to be sent to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, UK. The murder attempt brought her an outpouring of international support. Malala is presently a prominent education activist. In April 2017 she was awarded honorary canadian citizenship and became the youngest person to address House of Commons of Canada.
This week we salute this brave young woman who has become an inspiration to women in all walks of life.
One of the most disturbing news story last week was that of a disabled man who drowned in Florida while a group of teens laughed, mocked him and filmed the incident. They all watched him drown and apparently thought it funny.
There is definitely a breakdown of moral values in society. As parents most of us do our best to raise decent human beings. But something has got to be wrong when a group of young men find it amusing that someone is drowning – basically taking their last breath – and feel no sense of compassion, no moral obligation to assist. It makes you wonder what else they will find funny?
5 Things Every Abused Woman Should Know
- Don’t be ashamed: It may seem strange but many women experience sense of shame that they are the victims of abuse. In their minds it is something that happen to other people not to them. Hence they find it difficult to accept and may go into denial mode.
- Do not make excuses for your injuries: Some women will make excuses for their injuries rather than admit that they are victims of abuse. The stigma of being a battered woman make them feel less than and so makeup become their best friend. They develop the art of covering up the black eyes and the bruises. Many do not understand that the longer they make excuses for and cover up their injuries the longer they help to facilitate the abuse. People cannot help you unless they know that you need help.
- Realize that you have a problem: Living in an abusive relationship is a serious problem. It is almost like living at the foot of an active volcano. Now and again it may give off signs of an eruption and if you don’t take heed one day it will actually erupt and the consequences may be devastating. The first step to solving a problem is admitting that you have one. An abusive partner is a serious problem.
- It is not your fault: An abusive partner may make you feel that his inability to control his anger is your fault. He may hurt you and say to you, “You see what you made me do.” Over time you might start to believe that it is your action that causes his anger and lack of control. Just know that it is not your fault. You are the victim in the situation.
- You have to end the silence: This is not going to be easy but you have to set aside your pride and think more about preserving your life. You have to end the silence, tell someone about what you are going through. Talk to trusted family members or a trusted friend about your abuse. Seek out a support group in your area. You have to talk about it so you can get help.
This week’s Woman of the Week is:
MARIE CURIE – November 7, 1867 – 4 July 1934
Marie Curie was a Polish and naturalized French Chemist and Physicist. She developed the theory of radioactivity, technique for isolating radioactive isotopes. She also discovered the elements polonium and radium. During world war 1 she developed mobile radiography units which provided x-ray services to the field hospitals. Today mobile X-ray units are a life saving part of health care.
Marie Curie was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize and the only woman to win twice. She founded the Curie Institutes in Paris and in Warsaw. Sadly she died of aplastic anemia caused by her exposure to radiation from her research in radiology.
This week we pay tribute to this iconic woman who contributed so much to the field of Science.
Often the greatest joy we derive in life come from those moments spent with family. Yet so many miss the opportunity to create great moments because they are in pursuit of everything except investing time in family.
Acquiring great wealth is okay, so are the titled positions and accolades, but nothing beats having a family who loves and cherish you. That is the greatest wealth anyone can have. Many people neglect their families in pursuit of wealth and find out too late the chances they missed to create memories.
We must make time for family and cherish the moment spent together because at the end of our lives all the wealth we have acquired in this world is meaningless and when we go all we can take with us are the memories in our hearts. Let us no longer miss those opportunities to create great memories.