Saturday, March 01, 2008

Maya Angelou Speaks In Dallas

On the morning of Bill Clinton’s inauguration, I listened to Dr. Maya Angelou as she read her poem that ended with the stanzas,

Here on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister's eyes, into
Your brother's face, your country
And say simply
Very simply
With hope
Good morning.

She was welcoming the country to wake up from the slumber of the Regan/Bush years and renew its purpose and courage. She grabbed me and everyone listening and moved us with the simple power of her prophetic voice.

She still has that power. Today at the 80th birthday celebration for her, hosted by Hope for Peace and Justice here in Dallas Maya grabbed the audience from her first words. She sang, spoke and recited poems. She told stories and she moved people in a way that only she can. She is a great American treasure and I feel privileged to have seen her and listened to her magic with language.

The Morton Meyerson Symphony Hall was filled to capacity both in the audience and on the stage where a massed men’s and women’s choir under the direction of Dr. Tim Seelig sang with more power than I have ever heard. The orchestra, the new North Texas Symphony under the direction of Kathy Brown played their hearts out and the special appearance by the First Baptist Church of Hamilton Park Men’s Choir was stunning.

It was an inaugural event for Hope for Peace and Justice and it was a resounding success. Part of the month long “Voices of Peace” event, a month-long, worldwide effort by the organization Song of Peace, which is encouraging one million people around the world to sing "Dona Nobis Pacem" (give us peace) in communities, churches, synagogues, schools, or even on street corners, proclaiming that peace in our world is of fundamental importance. More information at

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