April 14, 1928 – May 28, 2014, Age 86
Each of us have turning points in our lives. One of mine occurred the week before I began my Freshman year at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC. All of the Freshmen came the week before for a special retreat. We met in small groups with our advisors that August of 1973.
One of the focal points of our “pre-school year retreat” was a day of discussion Maya Angelou’s book, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”. Having grown up in a conservative Southern family, I had not been exposed to the thinking of people such as Maya Angelou. Given the times, it was a missing piece in my evolving view of the world.
Like many people who Maya Angelou touched, once she came into my world, she was always a part of it. Maya was one of the early people who would help me raise my consciousness about the needs and paths of many different people, both here in the USA, and around the world.
By reading her book, a seed was planted. Tracing back my non-profit I’ve begun, “Conscious World Foundation”, she was one of the earliest seeds other than my mom, dad, and grandmother (who lived with my family). They each played a role in my becoming inspired to begin a non-profit that would raise the consciousness of youth around the world by teaching them that we are all here to make our difference and that we should do so in a way that supports all people winning.
Maya Angelou’s message provided new dimension to the message I was taught by my parents. That message was we are all here on Earth for a primary reason – it is to make the world better for having journeyed here. It was literally our family’s motto.
Ms. Angelou’s book added dimension by opening my eyes not only to the path of African-Americans, but far more, it helped inspire my passion for personal development, conscious evolution, and for both liberating my own spirit and supporting others to do the same.
As a note, Maya Angelou, who lived in Winston-Salem, became a professor at Wake Forest in 1980.
Maya Angelou made a mark on my life just as she made a mark on the lives of millions of others. I wanted to take time to honor what she accomplished and the many ways she inspired others.
If you haven’t read “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”, here is a link to the Amazon page for the print / kindle. Enjoy!