‘I am a human being, nothing human can be alien to me’: Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou, poet, activist, singer whose words remain with us even after she has passed away, was also a philosopher. In her speech, I Am Human, she enunciated how she derives joy and comfort from knowing that she was birthed by God. That the one person who controls the wind and rain was responsible for her being. She also acknowledged that to know and understand that we are all human beings is humbling. This not only implies that we gauge the heinousness human beings are capable of, but also aspire for the greatness many before us reached and embodied with their lives. She cites examples of Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa to highlight what human beings can do if they try. "Stretch, stretch yourself," she says.

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Then, she goes on to add: “If a human being dreams a great dream, dares to love somebody; if a human being dares to be Martin King, or Mahatma Gandhi, or Mother Theresa, or Malcolm X; if a human being dares to be bigger than the condition into which she or he was born— it means so can you/"And so you can try to stretch, stretch, stretch yourself so you can internalise, ‘Homo sum, humani nil a me alienum puto: I am a human being, nothing human can be alien to me.’ That’s one thing I’m learning,” she concludes.