Maya Angelou's impelling poem deals with the speaker's determination to proudly resist and overcome prejudice. Even though the poem specifically addresses racial and gender intolerance, its appeal and application is universal. The poem's universality lies in the speaker's affirmation of her pride for who she is, irrespective of the criticism, bias, and hatred she may face. The speaker proclaims a remarkable self-belief and the conviction that she will stand up against adversity.
The poem's mantra "I rise" is an apt declaration for all those in the world who are victims of narrow-minded bias and oppression, irrespective of their religion, culture, gender, race or creed. They must carry themselves with pride and not be intimidated by others' bigotry and intolerance.
The message is clear: All those who are being victimized should be strong in their resistance and must, above all else, believe in themselves. Angelou's use of the word "still" emphasizes the fact that such individuals, irrespective of the depth and breadth of the hardships they face, should stand up for themselves and be proud of who they are.