Assistant News Editor
Maya Angelou encouraged students to be rainbows in the clouds – to be hope for others.
Angelou spoke Wednesday at the CFSB Center on the hope individuals can bring to others’ lives because of the similarity they share with one another; she spoke on the liberation that comes with eliminating ignorance.
“I am pleased to come here and see that this University is a rainbow in the clouds,” she said.
Angelou said the importance of students is immeasurable.
“Not enough adults tell you that you are the best we have,” she said. “We need your courage, courage is the most important of all the virtues.”
It is impossible to practice other virtues consistently without courage, she said, and through that, intelligence can be used as a vehicle for the positive and not the negative aspects of life.
When society scorns the differences in other people, students should stand up for those and recognize the sameness humans encompass, Angelou said.
“I am a human being,” she said. “Nothing can be alien to me. Young men and women, this statement is so liberating, I want you to have it.”
Samiya Donelson, a junior from Paducah, Ky., said she was inspired by Angelou’s speech because of the speaker’s caring attitude.
“Sometimes you feel like that no one else cares, maybe no one else out there cares, but she does and one thing I took from it was the saying she said, ‘nothing human can be alien to you,’” she said.
Angelou said men and women should become users of positive elements, and not negative. The saddest characteristic in a young person is cynicism, she said.
“If a human being did it, you have to say, ‘I have the possibility within myself of doing that,’” she said. “You liberate yourself from ignorance, and that’s why this institution was built. It was built so that you could know you have already been paid for, so that you can come here and liberate yourself from ignorance.”
Angelou said to students to become someone else’s rainbow.
“My word is my bond,” she said, “Young men and women, grow up to say ‘I am willing to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.”
Angelou said the importance of poetry is monumental; it will relieve stress of students’ school work and exams.
“Read some poetry that will make you smile and make you realize that when you go into that room, or when you’re going to study for that test and cram for that test, laugh first, laugh first,” she said. “Know that you’ve already been paid for, and laugh first.”
Charzetta Pittman, sophomore from Memphis, Tenn., said Angelou inspired her to make a difference in someone’s life.
“I took from it what she said about being a rainbow in someone else’s cloud, to make a difference in someone else’s life, to have a positive impact on someone,” she said.
Throughout the trials Angelou faced as a child and adult, she said she aspired to make a difference in someone else’s life.
“When it looked like the sun wasn’t shining anymore, because of that, because I had rainbows in my clouds,” Angelou said. “I encourage you to look at the rainbows in your clouds and see yourself here at Murray. Know this place is a rainbow in the clouds. Know that you too, each of you, no matter what your age, you have the right and privilege to become a rainbow in the clouds.”
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