Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 1.00.00 PM

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

neutraloppressorDoes my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 1.06.26 PMJust like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 1.10.24 PMDid you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 1.12.08 PMDoes my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 1.14.58 PMYou may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

ac6qxuw3ogsc6chngc5oDoes my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

11193321_10101769550134147_1503411069760286507_nOut of the huts of history’s shame
I rise

martin_luther_king_arrestUp from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise

MarchonWashington1963I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise

3034486-slide-s-1-hands-up-dont-shootInto a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise


Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

–Maya Angelou

An update on Ukraine

In case you have not been following the news in Ukraine like I have, it has not gotten better. In fact, on January 22, which was supposed to be Ukraine’s unity day, things only got worse.

Here is a video that gives you a sense of Ukraine’s current emotional state (obligatory cautionary note: language):

The facts:

  • The weather in Kiev for the next week reaches a high of 15° F (-9° C) and a low of -12° F (-25° C).
  • Thousands of protestors flood the streets of Kiev daily, despite the violent conditions (both from riot police and the weather itself).
  • Five people have died directly or indirectly related to the protests — hundreds have been injured.
  • Injured protestors have been seen going into hospitals for treatment, then gone missing soon after. Therefore, underground medical tents/rooms have been developed to treat the ill or injured protestors.
  • It is now a felony to gather and protest in the streets. People who are arrested will spend 15 years in prison for this “felony.”

Here is a good article that discusses more of these facts in detail.

The mistreatment of Ukrainian rioters does not end there. Here is another video discussing some specific examples of the turmoil in Kiev:

I am blown away at the bravery of the protestors. Up until this point, when they were pushed against the wall with a felony charge, they have been wholly nonviolent; however, things are getting crucial. If you would like to help, visit http://www.uuarc.org. Or, you can read this letter from Yuri Andrukhovych: Appeal to European Readers.


EDIT: A colleague shared a wonderful link with me. This is a blog post titled “On ‘Extremism.'” There are two versions — scroll down for English.

Ukrainian Rioters’ Fight for Social Justice

Big things are happening in Ukraine right now — things that mirror the stories we read in our favorite dystopian novels. It is easy to read books like 1984 or The Hunger Games and think that kind of oppression could never take place, but when I opened The New York Times this morning, my ignorance was stripped away (again), as I am reminded that oppressive governments exist, even today. Here are a few news reels discussing the riots in Ukraine:

General Overview:

Recent Update:

As I watch updates streaming from multiple news stations, I am reminded of what heroism looks like. It is not always jumping out of a building to save a child or throwing oneself in front of a bullet. Sometimes it is standing up for justice, even when the odds are not in your favor. These riots started November 22, the same day the second installment of The Hunger Games series, Catching Fire, premiered in theatres. Though a mere coincidence, I cannot help but find connections between the two events.

Here are two images from Catching Fire (possible spoilers ahead, but nothing you wouldn’t get from a movie trailer):

In both of these images (taken from the film, Catching Fire), one can see the tension rising in the districts. These people, oppressed by a corrupt government, found hope in Katniss Everdeen’s bravery. This story, though, is fiction — yet, these images look very similar to what is happening in Ukraine:

Though a stretch, it is becoming clear — at least, to me — that the nightmares found in dystopian literature are not always fictional. However, people are strong when they want to be, and these rioters demonstrate their strength in fighting for social justice, giving us inspiration to fight against oppression in our own towns.

For more information on these riots:

Ukrainians call for Yanukovych to resign in protests sparked by EU u-turn

Ukrainians back in street to support EU accord

Video of police brutality in Kiev fuels rage

Thousands demand resignation of Ukraine leader