As a North Carolinian, I claim Maya Angelou.
I know — she wasn’t born in North Carolina, nor did she spend the majority of her life here. But when you get the chance to claim someone like Maya Angelou, you look past those particulars.
So, for the last 10 years or so, Maya Angelou and I have been neighbors. I had the pleasure of hearing her speak at Elon University’s 2012 Convocation. And while I am not typically a poetry kind of gal, something about the simple and yet complex nature of her words always resonated with me.
As with most things these days, I learned of her passing on Twitter.
On the same day, news of the Kimye wedding, a One Direction marijuana scandal, and Edward Snowden were in the forefront. Given these “hot button” issues, I was worried that the passing of such a cultural giant would be overshadowed.
I am so pleased to say that it was not.
At one point, 6 of the 10 “Trending Topics” in the US were related to Maya Angelou. From #MayaAngelou to #StillIRise to “Phenomenal Woman,” everyone was weighing in, expressing their condolences and citing their favorite bit of poetry or prose from the legend.
This doesn’t always happen, but Twitter made me proud today.
I was proud to see social media users pay homage to a woman who fought so boldly for social justice.
I was proud to see a true difference maker trump the pop icons that rarely inspire change.
I was proud of the Twittersphere for loving and claiming my neighbor the way I have for years.