By Aaronetta Pierce

Thank you for being such a great teacher, inspiration and friend to me for almost four decades.

I reflect often on your many lessons, especially your powerful quote, “Only equals can be friends”.

You explained that friends need not be equally famous, or smart, or wealthy, or talented; but they do need to bring an “equal” commitment to the friendship.

I was reminded of this thought when it was announced in 2006 that Oprah Winfrey was hosting a magnificent luncheon and gala for a few of the greatest Living African American Women “Legends” of our time.

Of course her beloved Maya Angelou was probably the first name on the list. I pondered just how I could celebrate and congratulate my friend.

After thinking about it, I commissioned a friend/jewelry designer, Kathleen Groppe, to design a necklace of pearls with hints of pink and green in honor of our Sorority. (Maya had become an Honorary Alpha Kappa Alpha Soror decades earlier.)

Kathy created a delicate, yet impressive and beautiful design and the price was right. Not until I saw the published pictures of Maya taken at the luncheon, did I see that she was wearing “the necklace”.

She could have worn diamonds or gold but she wore the gift from her friend. “Only equals can be friends.”

Love you, my friend.