Maya Angelou (1928-2014) wrote the poem “And Still I Rise” as a way to inspire those who needed to be lifted up by her sense of self-worth. She was a remarkable woman and faced life head on and didn’t let anyone or anything bring her down. Words have power and she is a woman of strength in my eyes. I am using this poem to open peoples’ eyes to the wonder of encouraging people with disabilities.
Israel lives with constant stigmas, the most profound stigma being around disability. Disability is something that is feared by most, and shunned by those who lives it has not affected. It may be out of fear, out of hate or out of pity. People whose life has not been affected by any form of disease find a way to isolate those lives that have been.
It’s interesting that Israel is a country with the highest amount of people suffering from different forms of disability, yet it is the country with the most stigma against people. Israel should be the first country to support and encourage people who live with any form of disability because it includes a lot of post-army veterans suffering from PTSD, anxiety, depression, you name it. People who have lost loved ones in terror attacks being prescribed sleeping pills and anti-anxiety medication in order to get through the day and night. There are many disorders that people have been diagnosed and unfortunately mis-diagnosed as a result of enduring tragedy in their lives and in the lives of their loved ones.
There are numerous organizations that help people deal with what they struggle with on daily basis and the Israeli Government helps people recover and gives the disabled assistance, but it is not a lot to really live a meaningful life. There have been several protests in the name of the disabled in Israel, but with the life of constant stress in this country, a lot of people are left out of a life they deserve.
There are a lot of heroic people in Israel who live with a an ailment that took away their ability to function at their best, and they should be applauded, not shut out. Everyone has a skill to contribute and fortunately Israel has given a voice that allows people with a disability to be heard. These people should be encouraged to get off the ground and to rise. It’s about time that we as a society, a nation, a country, start sticking up for people who need it, instead of turning a blind eye.
This is not meant to criticize others, it’s intended to inspire change for those who need it most, and to give people hope. We need to support those in need. And yet, despite all of what we encounter as a society, a nation, a country, Israel continues to rise.
Still I Rise
BY MAYA ANGELOU (1928-2014)
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