Letter from JoAnn Adinolfi

Dear students and fellow citizens,

I am the mother of teenagers. It is said that we should, as parents, teach our children well, yet the process is reciprocal. They have learned from me and I have learned from them. To be honest, my children have taught me more and have made me a better person, as you students now inspire me and ask me to be a better person, a better adult. I have joined Moms Demand Action and am getting involved in a more direct way to prevent gun violence than before. I feel inspired by your courage to speak truth to power.

I am a writer but I am not in the league of the great Maya Angelou and so I have attached her poem STILL I RISE. This is is what I really want to say!

Godspeed and I am so sorry for what has happened and I apologize for my past inaction.

JoAnn Adinolfi
Mom and Children’s Book Illustrator and Author

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

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

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
’Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You 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.

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

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into 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.