Lambda Legal Mourns the Passing of Maya Angelou

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May 28, 2014
Maya Angelou reciting her poem "On the Pulse of Morning," at President Bill Clinton's inauguration, January 1993

In response to Maya Angelou’s passing, Lambda Legal released the following statements.

From Executive Director Kevin Cathcart:

Maya Angelou had an immeasurable impact on the social justice and equality movements. Through her words, she inspired countless individuals to seek their own path and aspire to become the truest version of themselves. She was a leader in the African-American community who used her talents with language to bring our human commonalities to the fore of any attempt at progress. A woman with her experience and accomplishments had many things to say that informed the LGBT movement, and here is one that strikes me as particularly relevant as the momentum for marriage is reaching its peak:

‘Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.’

When our movement is led by people who know, understand and are working to overcome their struggle, our efforts to enact positive change are most effective. Maya Angelou dedicated her life to inspiring change through self-actualization and empowerment, and we mourn the loss of brilliant woman who will continue to inspire change for generations. 

From Beverly Tillery, Deputy Director of Education & Public Affairs  - Education, Advocacy & Inclusion:

Maya Angelou has been an inspiration for me throughout my life. As an educator, activist, writer, mother, and community leader, she showed me that we do not have to be defined by the limitations others may put on us.  Through her courageous writing, she taught me early on the power of telling our stories and how sharing personal experiences  can change the way others view the world. African-American leaders, particularly women African-American leaders, are not seen or celebrated as often as they should be, and Maya Angelou was a rare public example of the grace, intelligence, honor and humility we bring to the world. Her words will live on in our minds, and the feelings they inspire will nurture our hearts. As we work towards justice and equality for our LGBT brothers and sisters and people living with HIV, we will always keep her with us.

Photo: Office of the White House

Maya Angelou