One of the most successful tennis players of all time, Serena Williams did not have it easy. Her gender and colour were always held against her. In this speech, she addresses them. “I have to tell each one of you it doesn’t matter how old you are, you can achieve anything you set your mind to,” she says, adding “The ride for me has not been easy and maybe your ride won’t be easy. But I am not standing here because I cruised on. I had my shares of ups and downs…I live through tragedies and controversies”.
She goes on to say how people often overlooked her for being a woman of colour. “I had critics say I will not win another Grand Slam when I was only at no. 7.” History has already proven how false the prediction was.
Citing Maya Angelou’s famous poem Still I Rise, she quotes, “You may write me down in history with your bitter, twisted lies. You may trod me with the very dirt but still, like dust, I rise. Just like moon and suns with the certainty of tides, just like hopes and springing high, still I rise. Did you want to see me broken? Bowed head and lowered eyes? Shoulders falling like teardrops weakened by my soulful cries? Out of the huts of history’s shame, I rise. From a past that’s rooted in pain, I rise. Into the daybreak that’s wonderfully clear, I rise. Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I rise. I am the dream and the hope of a slave. I rise. I rise. I rise.”