Dearest Dr. Marguerite Ann “Maya” Johnson Angelou,
I hope you don’t mind that I lovingly refer to you as Mama Maya. I’ve never met you in person, but I feel as though we know each other. We know each other, because we’ve both experienced and shared (to varying degrees) the bittersweet complexities of life as a Black woman in America. When you wrote, you knew someone like me would read it. As you lived your life, you knew that someone like me was watching. Either way, I could not only relate, but I could learn from you. In your words, in your journey, I have seen both a mirror and a compass, and I have learned in many ways how to navigate. You were, and will forever be, a north star.