Reflections from Rainier Scholars Leadership, Part 2


I’m heartbroken by recent events. Again and again. Mr. Little and I were exchanging texts about reading a historical account of the murder of teenager Emmett Till in Jet Magazine when we were 10 years old, one of our earliest memories of reading about our black boys and men, our people, being murdered. When will it end??

 I smolder with resentment and quiver with fear. 

 I also feel helpless and hopeless. 

But then my dad, who grew up in segregation, says to me and my brothers, “As a minority, one must be careful not to allow oneself to become victimized by such a system! It’s a constant battle.”

 And so it is. I think of my ancestors who came here in chains. Who built the industries of this nation on their backs. Who built businesses and schools in their communities dressed in their Sunday best after the Emancipation. Who endured Jim Crow.  How often must the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. have felt the fear, the helplessness and the hopelessness?  And none more so than those who had to continue after his assassination.

 So I rage inside and I mourn and I pray.  Because that’s critical too. And then, because I have important work to do, I rise. 

 Leaving behind nights of terror and fear 

I rise

Into the 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


Monica Parker, Associate Executive Director