Maya Angelou Emailed Me Today

My grandmother and my uncle experienced circumstances that would break your heart. When they went to vote, they were asked impossible questions like, “How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?” When they couldn’t answer, they couldn’t vote.

Maya Angelou

Okay, she didn’t email this only to me, but I was still moved to see, “Dear Kartika.” The email came from info.barackobama from Maya Angelou into my email box. The email came from the heart and soul of Maya Angelou.

I would be honored to have Maya Angelou think of me as “dear.” I love Maya Angelou for many reasons – reading her memoir changed my life and the lives of millions of readers who have been inspired by her courage, talent, and the work she has done on behalf of women, minorities and so many people throughout the world who have no voice.

Maya is not afraid to “speak truth to power.” Because I’m a registered Democrat, she asked me to vote for Barack Obama. Here is her message:

Dear Kartika,

I am not writing to you as a black voter, or a woman voter, or as a voter who is over 70 years old and six feet tall. I am writing to you as a representative of this great country — as an American.

It is your job to vote. It is your responsibility, your right, and your privilege. You may be pretty or plain, heavy or thin, gay or straight, poor or rich.

But remember this: In an election, every voice is equally powerful — don’t underestimate your vote. Voting is the great equalizer.

Your vote might make the difference. Don’t fool around with this: You can vote early in Iowa, so find your early vote polling location and do it now.

Once you’ve done that, make sure your friends know exactly where they can vote early, too.

As a country, we can scarcely perceive the magnitude of our progress.

My grandmother and my uncle experienced circumstances that would break your heart. When they went to vote, they were asked impossible questions like, “How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?” When they couldn’t answer, they couldn’t vote.

I once debated with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. about whether an African American would ever be elected president. He believed it would happen within the next 40 years at the time — I believed it would never happen within my lifetime.

I have never been happier to have been proven wrong.

And since President Barack Obama’s historic election, we’ve moved forward in courageous and beautiful ways. More students can afford college, and more families have access to affordable health insurance. Women have greater opportunities to get equal pay for equal work.

Yet as Rev. King wrote, “All progress is precarious.”

So don’t sit on the sidelines. Don’t hesitate. Don’t have any regrets. Vote.

You don’t have to wait until Election Day. Voting has already begun in Iowa — so go, rise up, and cast your ballot early:

http://my.barackobama.com/Find-Your-Early-Vote-Location

And make sure everyone in your life knows where they can vote early, too:

http://my.barackobama.com/Help-Your-Friends-Vote-Early

Your vote is not only important. It’s imperative.

Thank you,

Dr. Maya Angelou

2 Comments

Filed under Our Crazy Beautiful World

2 responses to “Maya Angelou Emailed Me Today

  1. This so beautiful. Simple words conveying so much deep meaning.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Marva

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