On the Pulse of Morning (1993) – Maya Angelou in her own words

Resting in Peace – her legacy lives in her words

On the Pulse of Morning (1993)

Maya Angelou recited this poem for the first inauguration of President Clinton in 1993, making her only the second poet to read at a presidential inauguration (the first was Robert Frost). She was, she said, overwhelmed at Clinton’s request, but poured all her thoughts about America into a long poem whose themes and symbols chimed with Clinton’s address. She pictured the earth as “A Rock, A River, A Tree” crying out to humanity that “You, created only a little lower than/ The angels, have crouched too long in / The bruising darkness/ Have lain too long/ Facedown in ignorance…” It was a call for unity from a poet chosen “to bring people together”.



A Rock, A River, A Tree
Hosts to species long since departed,
Marked the mastodon.
The dinosaur, who left dry tokens
Of their sojourn here
On our planet floor,
Any broad alarm of their hastening doom
Is lost in the gloom of dust and ages.

But today, the Rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully,
Come, you may stand upon my
Back and face your distant destiny,
But seek no haven in my shadow.

I will give you no more hiding place down here.

You, created only a little lower than
The angels, have crouched too long in
The bruising darkness,
Have lain too long
Face down in ignorance.

Your mouths spilling words
Armed for slaughter.

The Rock cries out today, you may stand on me,
But do not hide your face.

Across the wall of the world,
A River sings a beautiful song,
Come rest here by my side.

Each of you a bordered country,
Delicate and strangely made proud,
Yet thrusting perpetually under siege.

Your armed struggles for profit
Have left collars of waste upon
My shore, currents of debris upon my breast.

Yet, today I call you to my riverside,
If you will study war no more. Come,

Clad in peace and I will sing the songs
The Creator gave to me when I and the
Tree and the stone were one.

Before cynicism was a bloody sear across your
Brow and when you yet knew you still
Knew nothing.

The River sings and sings on.

There is a true yearning to respond to
The singing River and the wise Rock.

So say the Asian, the Hispanic, the Jew
The African and Native American, the Sioux,
The Catholic, the Muslim, the French, the Greek
The Irish, the Rabbi, the Priest, the Sheikh,
The Gay, the Straight, the Preacher,
The privileged, the homeless, the Teacher.
They hear. They all hear
The speaking of the Tree.

Today, the first and last of every Tree
Speaks to humankind. Come to me, here beside the River.

Plant yourself beside me, here beside the River.

Each of you, descendant of some passed
On traveller, has been paid for.

You, who gave me my first name, you
Pawnee, Apache and Seneca, you
Cherokee Nation, who rested with me, then
Forced on bloody feet, left me to the employment of
Other seekers- desperate for gain,
Starving for gold.

You, the Turk, the Swede, the German, the Scot…
You the Ashanti, the Yoruba, the Kru, bought
Sold, stolen, arriving on a nightmare
Praying for a dream.

Here, root yourselves beside me.

I am the Tree planted by the River,
Which will not be moved.

I, the Rock, I the River, I the Tree
I am yours- your Passages have been paid.

Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need
For this bright morning dawning for you.

History, despite its wrenching pain,
Cannot be unlived, and if faced
With courage, need not be lived again.

Lift up your eyes upon
The day breaking for you.

Give birth again
To the dream.

Women, children, men,
Take it into the palms of your hands.

Mold it into the shape of your most
Private need. Sculpt it into
The image of your most public self.
Lift up your hearts
Each new hour holds new chances
For new beginnings.

Do not be wedded forever
To fear, yoked eternally
To brutishness.

The horizon leans forward,
Offering you space to place new steps of change.
Here, on the pulse of this fine day
You may have the courage
To look up and out upon me, the
Rock, the River, the Tree, your country.

No less to Midas than the mendicant.

No less to you now than the mastodon then.

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.

Maya Angelou

Safe Spaces for Learning – Engaging Men and Boys

From INEE newsletter

Video: Safe Spaces for Learning – Engaging Men and Boys

Gender-based violence is a problem all over the world that’s tearing our families apart, undermining the basic rights of girls and women to live lives free of violence, and deeply undermines learning and girls educational achievement which, in turn, undermines the future prosperity of our communities.

UNGEI is pleased to collaborate with Michael Kaufman (Ph.D. Educator, Writer, co-founder White Ribbon Campaign) to release this short video on gender-based violence and engaging men and boys to create safe learning spaces for girls and boys.


To watch the video, please click here. For more information, please click here

The World We Want 2015 – take action!


The World We Want 2015.

The Millenium Development Goals have a date of 2015 to report on progress -but what should world leaders focus their attention on after 2015?

May 8th was the biggest day of voting since MY World began and we have gone viral on social media with #globalvoters having their say around the world! We’ve been updating the MY World blog with your outreach efforts. Please send us your stories, photos and videos.

There’s still time- Remember that the the Week of Action is ongoing through 11 May, so we are expecting many more votes this weekend both online and offline.

Please mark this event on your calendar – when we present the exciting results!


The World We Want 2015 Policy & Strategy Group cordially invites you to

  • Visualizing People’s Voices on Friday, May 16th at 13:00EST at the United Nations Trusteeship Council and online webcast at UN Web TV & the World We Want 2015. You can also follow the conversation on Twitter via @worldwewant2015 and #voices2015 
  • We will launch the World We Want 2015 Trends, an online tool for engaging and empowering people in the post-2015 new global development agenda.
  • We will also present the results of the recent MY World 2015 Global Week of Action
  • What are people voting for?
    Here are the candidates (note you can still add one of your own!)

    When you have voted a video is created which represents the key issues that you voted for – personalized and which you can share with others.


    It is a simple action -but worth trying!

Conflict Sensitive Education Training Materials

From the INEE newsletter:

INEE Conflict Sensitive Education Training Materials: Now Available! 

The development of the INEE Conflict Sensitive Education Training Materials was a collaborative, inter-agency effort based on input from the reference group and feedback from over 50 pilot trainings in over 20 countries. Based on theCSE Pack, these materials have been created to support the integration of conflict sensitivity in global education policies and programs.
The CSE Training Materials include:

To review the materials and see how they might support your work, visit the INEE Toolkit here. To provide comments on the training materials, share examples of CSE, or request technical assistance to deliver the training, email csetraining@ineesite.org

Framework for the Future

There has been much talk and much blogging about the ‘post 2015’ agenda -in other words what should be the international goals following the Millenium Development Goals? Many organisations have participated in debates and discussions and publshed position papers – here is one example:

Framework for the Future
Save the Children

Save the Children’s new report, Framework for the Future presents our vision for a universal post-2015 sustainable development framework to replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) building upon our initial framework outlined in Ending Poverty in Our Generation that was released in January 2013.

The report presents twelve concrete goals with associated targets that, if achieved, would help build a world that is prosperous, resilient and free from poverty. To address key weaknesses in the MDGs and to help tackle inequalities, our proposed universal framework introduces key measures including interim “stepping stone” equity targets as well as goals and targets that integrate economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development.

To read the full report, please click here.

Thirteenth Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues – coming soon!

Thirteenth Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues


When?   …12-23 May 2014
Where? …Trusteeship Council Chamber
United Nations Headquarters, New York
What? ….. Special Theme: “Principles of good governance consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: articles 3 to 6 and 46”


a short history:

Each session has thematically focused on a specific issue. During the Forum’s first six sessions, a specific theme was discussed each year. Since the sixth session, the forum has decided on a bi-annual working method of one year of policy discussion and the second year dealing with implementation. The implementation sessions do not have a theme.
First Session
12 to 24 May 2002 – United Nations Headquarters, New York
Second Session
11 to 23 May 2003 – United Nations Headquarters, New York
Special Theme: Indigenous Children and Youth
Third Session
10 to 21 May 2004 – United Nations Headquarters, New York
Special Theme: Indigenous Women
Fourth Session
16 to 27 May 2005 – United Nations Headquarters, New York
Special Theme: Millennium Development Goals and Indigenous Peoples with a focus on Goal 1 to Eradicate Poverty and Extreme Hunger, and Goal 2 to achieve universal primary education
Fifth Session
15 to 26 May 2006 – United Nations Headquarters, New York
Special Theme: The Millennium Development Goals and indigenous peoples: Re-defining the Millennium Development Goals”
Sixth Session
14 to 25 May 2007 – United Nations Headquarters, New York
Special Theme: Territories, Lands and Natural Resources
Seventh Session
21 April – 2 May, 2008 – United Nations Headquarters, New York
Special Theme: Climate change, bio-cultural diversity and livelihoods: the stewardship role of indigenous peoples and new challenges”
Eighth Session
18-29 May, 2009 – United Nations Headquarters, New York
Review year
Ninth Session
19-30 April 2010 – UN Headquarters, New York
Special Theme: Indigenous peoples: development with culture and identity; articles 3 and 32 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Tenth Session
16-27 May 2011 – UN Headquarters, New York
Review year
Eleventh Session
7-18 May 2012 – UN Headquarters, New York
Special Theme: The Doctrine of Discovery: its enduring impact on indigenous peoples and the right to redress for past conquests (articles 28 and 37 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples)
Twelfth Session
20-31 May 2013 – UN Headquarters, New York
Review year
Thirteenth Session
12-23 May 2014 – UN Headquarters, New York
Special Theme: “Principles of good governance consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: articles 3 to 6 and 46”


and some reading to get up to speed:

State of the World’s Indigenous Peoples:


Some other relevant documents found on the ~UN site


E/C.19/2014/2 A study to examine challenges in the African region to Protecting Traditional Knowledge, Genetic Resources and Folklore

AR | EN | ES | FR | RU | ZH

E/C.19/2014/3 A Study on the impacts of the Doctrine of Discovery on indigenous peoples, including mechanisms, processes and instruments of redress, with reference to the Declaration, and particularly to articles 26-28, 32 and 40

AR | EN | ES | FR | RU | ZH

E/C.19/2014/4   Study on best practices and examples in respect of resolving land disputes and land claims, including consideration of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (Philippines) and the Chittagong Hill Tracts Land Dispute Resolution Commission (Bangladesh) and the Working Group on Indigenous Populations/Communities of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights

AR | EN | ES | FR | RU | ZH

E/C.19/2014/5 Report on the living conditions of indigenous children and adolescents in Mesoamerica and compliance with their rights

AR | EN | ES | FR | RU | ZH


From Cultural Survival:

Proud to Be Indigenous Week starts Sunday, May 11th.

Indigenous Peoples from around the world will be descending on New York City for the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) from May 12- 23rd. While most of us can’t make it to New York, our voices need to be heard!

Our goal is to create a storm of online activity during UNPFII so that Indigenous voices everywhere are heard. This year’s theme is “Pass The Talking Stick.”

We’ll be focusing on language and all that encompasses – history, stories, music, communication, connections, and more. We want Indigenous People to post photos and videos expressing why they are Proud To Be Indigenous with the hashtag #Proud2BIndigenous on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. We want people to share stories and celebrate their Indigenous culture. And we want Indigenous People from around the world to connect with each other.

Cultural Survival’s quarterly newsletter is a great read: