“People ask…’Did you grow up in her shadow?’ No, I didn’t. I grew up in her light.” Guy Johnson, Maya Angelou’s son.

It has been a year since Maya Angelou’s only son, Guy Johnson, passed. We continue to grieve and celebrate their lives and reflect on their bond. Not only did Maya Angelou’s son grow up in his mother’s light, but he was nourished by her words. They often expressed their values on the human spirit and justice in similar ways.

Maya Angelou dedicated her life to positively impacting our culture with her activism, books, teachings, and range of words of wisdom shared on global stages and imparted to family and friends across dinner tables. Today when we are met with a multitude of injustice, tragedies, and strides, we often wonder about the conversations that mother and son would be having right now.

“She[Maya Angelou] would tell me that the flower of the human spirit had difficulty blossoming without the natural nourishment of justice and dignity. Sometimes when we left the house, she would point out that the quality of justice one wants in their life begins at their own doorstep, meaning whatever they are willing to fight for or what they are willing to ignore.” -Guy Johnson

We continue to strive for equality, justice, and dignity through our family’s conversations, the initiatives we support by upholding Dr. Angelou’s legacy, and the work we do through the Dr. Maya Angelou Foundation. We have the opportunity and responsibility to pursue what we want and what our communities deserve through advancing education, advocating for health equity, and contributing to underserved communities.

“Dignity means that what I have to say is important, and I will say it when it’s important for me to say it. Dignity really means that I deserve the best treatment I can receive. And that I have the responsibility to give the best treatment I can to other people.” -MayaAngelou

The words and actions of Maya Angelou continue to move and fuel us today. It is our responsibility to pursue better treatment in our justice and education systems and in all aspects of our day-to-day lives.

We leave you with the encouragement and words of Mr. Johnson.

“This is a fight that cannot be ignored; there is work to be done and many battles still to be won. So, roll up your sleeves and don’t be a prisoner of ignorance. Justice ends or begins at your doorstep.” -Guy Johnson