Category Archives: Personality

Let’s Get Inspired: Maya Angelou

In todays Let’s Get Inspired section I would like to pay tribute to world’s celebrated author, poet, dancer, singer and civil rights activist Dr. Maya Angelou and share some of her highly inspiring quotes.

Dr. Maya your contributions to the world shall never be forgotten.

Here are her top 20 quotes that I like most….!!

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Also read and watch this..!!

Maya Angelou ignores the haters and so should you

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Source: Maya Angelou ignores the haters and so should you

First aired on George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight (31/12/13)

 

Maya Angelou is one of the world’s most accomplished and celebrated writers. Over the course of a career that spans more than 50 years, she’s dabbled in pretty much everything: producing, acting, educating and more, and she has been honoured with numerous awards including a National Medal of Arts from the U.S. Congress in 2000 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011.

Her accomplishments are as remarkable as they are diverse, but Angelou doesn’t see it that way. “Young people, of any race, who are reasonably bright and find themselves with no open doors, they will do many things,” she told George Stroumboulopoulos in a recent interview. She says she’s come across this open door many times, and hasn’t been afraid to step through it, because she believed in herself and what she was capable of.

Not everyone was impressed with Angelou’s ambition, but she’s quick to dismiss those who weren’t supporting or encouraging her. “There are those who will not be forgiving and so they blame the person for trying to make a better world for herself or himself.”

Alternatively, Angelou looked to her supporters for strength. “So many times I’ve had rainbows in my clouds,” said Angelou. “People who’ve been kind to me, who said, ‘You don’t have to do that. I believe you can do better.’ Some were black, some were white, some were Spanish speaking, some were Native American, some were gay and some were straight, fat and thin and pretty and plain. People lifted me up and said ‘I believe in you. You can do better.'”

Angelou believes in paying this forward. “And so I realize that was given to me and all I have as a response is to prepare myself so I can give that to somebody else who is yet to come.”

 

Also read…

11 Ways Maya Angelou Taught Us To Be Better Women

Posted: 05/28/2014 12:32 pm EDT Updated: 05/30/2014 12:59 pm EDT
MAYA ANGELOU

“I’m a woman, phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, that’s me.”

Maya Angelou, the beloved author, poet and activist who passed away on Wednesday May 28, was even more “phenomenal” than the words of one of her most famous poems can express.

During her 86 years, she wrote seven autobiographies, was active in the civil rights movement and worked with the likes of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., recited a poem at Bill Clinton’s 1993 presidential inauguration, became a college professor, befriended Oprah and was awarded the 2011 Presidential Medal of Freedom — the list goes on. (As the NYTimes obituary points out, before her first autobiography, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, was published in 1969, Angelou had already been “a dancer, calypso singer, streetcar conductor, single mother, magazine editor in Cairo, [and] administrative assistant in Ghana.”)

In celebration of her incredible life, here are 11 lessons all women can learn from Maya Angelou:

1. Loving someone means risking everything — but it’s always worth it.
“In the flush of love’s light, we dare be brave. And suddenly we see that love costs all we are, and will ever be. Yet it is only love which sets us free.” “Touched By An Angel”

2. Women need to support each other.
“Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women.”

3. The key to success is simple: enjoyment.
“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”

maya angelou

4. Make changes where you can, but accept the things that you have no control over.
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.”
5. Trust your own voice and instincts.

6. Learn the value of forgiveness.
“It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody.”

7. Looks aren’t everything. Not even a little bit.
“Pretty women wonder where my secret lies. I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size But when I start to tell them, They think I’m telling lies. I say, It’s in the reach of my arms The span of my hips, The stride of my step, The curl of my lips. I’m a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That’s me.” -“Phenomenal Woman”

8. Dare to “kick ass.”
“I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.”

maya angelou gloria steinemMaya Angelou and Gloria Steinem on their way to the March on Washington on August 27, 1983 in Washington, DC.

9. If you’re in a bad living situation, relationship or job, get out now.
“Stepping onto a brand-new path is difficult, but not more difficult than remaining in a situation, which is not nurturing to the whole woman.”

10. Always remember to laugh.
“Women should be tough, tender, laugh as much as possible, and live long lives.”

11. How you make people feel is the mark you will leave behind.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

We’ll certainly never forget how you made us feel, Maya.

You are a true inspiration Maya..

~E- Living

 

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Let’s Get Inspired- Wangari Maathai

Let’s Get Inspired

In todays Let’s Get Inspired section I would like to share some information on an  influential person Wangari Maathai

Wangari Maathai (1940-2011) was the founder of the Green Belt Movement and the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. She authored four books: The Green Belt Movement; Unbowed: A Memoir; The Challenge for Africa; and Replenishing the Earth. As well as having been featured in a number of books, she and the Green Belt Movement were the subject of a documentary film, Taking Root: the Vision of Wangari Maathai (Marlboro Productions, 2008).

Wangari Muta Maathai was born in Nyeri, a rural area of Kenya (Africa), in 1940. She obtained a degree in Biological Sciences from Mount St. Scholastica College in Atchison, Kansas (1964), a Master of Science degree from the University of Pittsburgh (1966), and pursued doctoral studies in Germany and the University of Nairobi, before obtaining a Ph.D. (1971) from the University of Nairobi, where she also taught veterinary anatomy. The first woman in East and Central Africa to earn a doctorate degree, Professor Maathai became chair of the Department of Veterinary Anatomy and an associate professor in 1976 and 1977 respectively. In both cases, she was the first woman to attain those positions in the region.

More About Wangari Maathai

(Source: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/famous-people-from-africa.html)

A famous environmentalist from Kenya, Wangari Maathai is the first woman from the under privileged region of East and Central Africa to have attained a doctorate. Wangari Maathai led a life full of struggle. Well-known for the “Green Belt Movement”, she has inspired many people the world over to take up the cause of afforestation.

Wangari Maathai was born on 1st April, 1940 in a Kikuyu family, an ethnic group in Kenya and came from the Ihithe village of Nyeri District. She did her schooling at St. Cecilia’s Intermediate Primary School. After completing graduation from the Loreto High school in Limuru, Maathai received a scholarship for studying at Mount St. Scholastica College in Kansas, USA. Biology was her major subject for graduation. Maathai’s brilliant academic record became the driving force in her quest to pursue higher education. She went on to pursue a Master’s degree in biology at the University of Pittsburgh.

Returning to her homeland was not a pleasant experience for Maathai. Despite her great achievements, Wangari Maathai had to face gender bias in her own country; she also found it difficult to get a job. However she didn’t lose hope and finally got employed as a research assistant at the School of Veterinary Medicine in Nairobi. In 1971, Wangari Maathai became the first woman from East Africa to attain a Doctorate in Anatomy.

Dr. Maathai was an activist by nature and worked with organizations like Red Cross Society, United Nations Environment Programme and National Council of Women of Kenya. 5th June, 1977 was a historic day in the life of Wangari Maathai as the first sapling of “Green Belt Movement” was planted. The main objective of Green Belt Movement was to preserve native plant species by creating nurseries. The nurseries were also meant to provide income to women and their families.

Wangari Maathai’s husband filed for divorce in 1979. She also lost elections for the post of chairman of the National Council of Women of Kenya. However, her personal problems and failure in elections didn’t stop her from continuing the social activities associated with Green Belt Movement. Many non-governmental organizations from European countries supported the cause of environmental conservation taken up by her. Dr. Maathai was often referred to as a crazy woman who opposed developmental activities going on in the country; however it didn’t deter her from pursuing a hard battle of saving trees. Once she was even attacked by miscreants during a tree plantation program.

Resilience was one force which helped Wangari Maathai to deal with failures in life. Finally, in 2004 Dr. Maathai was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize; she passed away on 25th September, 2011.
Read more at Buzzle: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/famous-people-from-africa.html

Here is her interview on Sustainable Styles

(Source: http://www.sustainablestyles.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=114&Itemid=516 )

By Pamela Peeters
 Wangari

Kenyan environmental and political activist Wangari Maathai passed away September 25, 2011. Wangari, who started the Greenbelt Movement, was the first African woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize. Her life was dedicated to fighting erosion, bringing jobs to women, and contributing to the greening of her country.

I was meeting Wangari for the third time. I had attended a lecture at Cooper Union, introduced by a member of the Kennedy clan, known for taking environmental preservation to heart. The second time I saw Wangari, she was being interviewed by National Geographic for its special edition on Africa. Now I was in a hotel close to the United Nations with two cameras – and ten questions.

PP: What is your wish for the future of our planet?

WM: I hope that we shall leave for our children a cleaner world, a more peaceful world, and a more just world – and the way to do that is henceforth to see these three themes as intricately connected. For us to live in a peaceful world, we need to live sustainably, and we need to manage ourselves with justice and equity.

PP: Do you think it is a feminine trait to feel called upon to “man”-age our natural resources?

WM: I have given that much thought. It is quite possible that the feminine part of us is also present in men. It is that aspect of all of us that nurtures and sustains life, so that it will survive and reproduce. All of us depend on it.

PP: I didn’t expect this answer. But it is positive, because it means that 100% of the inhabitants of our planet feels called to take part in this challenge. Do you think there is a parallel between stronger environmental legislation and increased women’s representation in the workforce? The more women are in positions in power, is the environment more likely to be taken care of better?

WM: I don’t know how related they are, but again as a woman I want to underline that we are the people who produce life and who have in us that special quality of wanting to protect life. It’s quite possible that the more we get into influential positions, the more our influence will bring about policies and laws that ensure protection of the environment and of all that sustains life. Where there is justice, there is equity. All of this will contribute to sustainable development.

But I also want to emphasize that this quality is not just found in women. I am quite sure it is also in men; it is just a matter of recognizing that trait within them. That aspect pursues sustainability because it is nurturing and goes beyond selfishness, greed, and lust for power. I am quite sure there are millions of men out there who are doing great things. And I wish they would do more, because they are the ones who are most often in positions of power and therefore in a position to improve and protect our laws and policies.

PP: What changes need to occur in existing systems and processes to achieve a sustainable level of well-being on a global level for generations to come? I think, say, of the rule that 0.7 % of the global domestic product of developed nations might go to developing countries.

WM: When people think of developing nations and countries that need assistance from the rich countries, we immediately think of Africa, because that’s where the majority of poor people are. I wish we would get out of that mode of thinking. Africa is an extremely rich continent, only for several centuries now, her resources have been extracted and removed from the homeland. There exists also a minority within Africa who end up with those resources at the expense of millions of ordinary Africans.

Now many of the developed countries, the rich countries, get their wealth through exploitation of those resources in Africa, because they have the knowledge, the skills, and the capital. What is needed even more than the aid, this “zero 0.7%,” is to keep advocating so that the countries being asked to give 0.7% of their resources do not exploit Africa in ways that do not benefit the local people.

I do not want to be misunderstood. I am not saying we do not need aid. I am not saying that we do not need that 0.7%. I am saying that there is need for economic justice both at the global level and at the local level.

PP: What is your forecast for global environmental stewardship?

WM: We have to do our best to protect natural resources and to manage them correctly. The moment that they are exploited by those who have the knowledge and the capital, a just amount of resources should be given to the local people, so that they are not left poor only to be given aid tomorrow. I believe that through new ways of managing natural resources, dehumanization can be undone and people can gain confidence.

PP: You say that world peace depends on democratic management of and access to natural resources. Would it be realistic to say that if our resources would be better respected and managed, there would be greater world peace?

WM: There is no justice in the economic policies we have at the moment, and that to me is something that we ought to look at. When we hear that Africa asks for help, this actually means that Africa is asking for justice, economic justice, and not just humanitarian aid. But nobody wants to turn the page and pause at the question, “But why are Africans so poor if they live in a continent that is so rich?” Let us look at both economic and social justice at the global level.

PP: In your struggle to make yourself heard as an environmentalist and a woman, what kept you going? Where did you get your strength?

WM: It is not easy to say that I got the inspiration at this or that point in time – that this is where I found encouragement or this is where I go for that surplus of courage. The truth is that we are created as we grow.

I look back at my life, when I was a child and growing up, when I was in college, or at the experiences of living in America and in Europe, studying in these countries, and seeing how things got managed. It gave me a perspective for when I tried to do things in my country: this is the way things should be.

When I said it is important for us to respect human rights, it is partly because of the experiences I had in this country, in the United States of the sixties fighting to liberate its citizens. Those were the years of the Vietnam War and the student movement; it was also the time when African countries were coming out of the colonial era. I was very much shaped by those events. I know that I am a very privileged person, because I have enjoyed a certain education, and this was against the prevailing trend that denied women the opportunity to go to school.

I always say that people who do not have the right perspective, who are not aware, are those who can sleep peacefully. It is those of us who recognize injustices, who recognize inequities and witness exploitation, and who know that they can do something about it who cannot sleep at night.

I myself have developed an easy way to deal with my frustration: planting trees. You dig a hole, you plant a tree, you nurture it, and half your frustrations are gone, because you have done something positive.

The Bible says that those who are given more are expected to do more. And I really do feel that I have a responsibility to people. I should be their eyes, their ears, and their spokesperson because I understand the way of the world.

PP: What do you think of the claim that increased acceptance of nuclear power might be the best alternative solution to our energy demand?

WM: I know that many people who are worried about the increase in greenhouse gases, who feel that we need to be banning fossil fuels, are advocating for nuclear energy. The greatest fear that all of us have about nuclear energy is the danger of accidents. There exists also the potential for abuse, because we don’t know how this source of energy will be used, not excluding warfare.

It is a difficult choice. It is important that we evolve to ways of generating energy that are safe, but nuclear energy obviously is a dangerous technology, because human beings don’t always act for the common good.

PP: The UNESCO decade for sustainable education launched in 2005. I created a film festival to showcase local pressure points and solutions. We also have a creative side to the film festival as we expand internationally, through the documentary film and the international television series Sustainable Planet. We seek to identify best-case sustainability scenarios globally. Would you like to become a partner?

WM: I would be happy to link up with you as a member of Parliament. I have a constituency that bought us a forest that is so degraded. We want to initiate a campaign to protect and rehabilitate it.

It’s both an environmental and educational activity to show people the strong linkage between exploitation of natural resources and degradation of the forest. So I would encourage you to come to Nairobi and film this project. You can see for yourself how these people get their water from the mountain and go to the mountain to plant trees to protect the mountain Njadarea.

It takes one dollar to plant one tree. You can collect money, send money, and plant trees. You can film that entire process. I would be happy to welcome you.

PP: Parallel to the UNESCO decade for sustainable education, what do you expect for the next ten years, and what do you need in order to successfully achieve this.

WM: I hope that in ten years I shall be able to say that the greenbelt movement has become truly global, that all these offices we are establishing have become successful, and that we have found projects in every continent to support. What we are doing in Kenya can be relevant to other areas as well.

Do you remember when the shuttle Discovery came back down to Earth? At the press conference, the commander mentioned one of her observations from space: Africa was very dusty. I hope that in ten years we shall have done enough so that whenever another astronaut goes into space, he can testify that the dust has been removed or greatly reduced. That is my wish.

PP: And so it will be!

After the opening of Greenbelt USA, Wangari left for Kenya to plant more trees. This interview is a tribute to the tremendous efforts of this eco hero. Sustainable Styles hopes that it will serve as an inspiration for reforestation initiatives.

More information: www.greenbeltmovement.org