Build people up with words

Performing spoken word poetry and reading the emails that were sent to me in response to my article on loving black women reminded how important expressing one’s self is.

The majority of the emails inspired me just as much as, if not more than, my article inspired them. Self-expression itself is not the most powerful tool, positive expression is. The world is in such a horrific state because positive things are seldom said.

Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words change a person. Words can cause someone to commit suicide because schoolmates made fun of them. Or, maybe someone has avoided jail because they were given a word of encouragement and told that they can do something positive with their life.

Actions speak louder than words, but many times words are the catalysts. When Rosa Parks said that she would not go to the back of the bus, she started a boycott.

When Malcolm said, “By any means necessary,” he gave blacks the hope that if they tried hard enough, they would earn the respect they deserve.

When Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Free at last,” he gave American society the hope that peace and harmony were around the corner.

When I heard the late, great jazz singer Nina Simone singing Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit,” I felt like I was there during lynchings of the early 1900s.

Even Maya Angelou’s poem “I Rise,” lets me know that even when others do not want me to succeed, if I just stretch the wings of possibility, I will touch the sun of success. In the same way that these works are uplifting, positive encouragement is also effective. If you tell another person that they are a wonderful presence in your life, that person feels it.

Rattlers, I challenge you to stop tearing down walls and start building! Stop bringing down and start uplifting! Through positive words, the foundation of a relationship can be strong. Though the winds of trial and tribulation may try to knock it down, constant uplifting will help a community stand strong.

Let your words be the foundation of someone’s emotions, not the wrecking ball.

Rudy Jean-Bart, 20, is a sophomore public relations student from Miramar. He can be reached at