Sac State philosophy major spreads understanding through poetry and activism


Khala Clarke

Maya Coleman in her ‘personal content creating space’ Sept. 18, 2019. Coleman noted that this space helps her to focus when creating content for her audience.

Khala Clarke

As a first-generation college student, Sacramento State philosophy major Maya Coleman had no blueprint, but since her freshman year 2016, she has managed to make an impact on campus through her words and activism. 

Coleman grew up in Victorville, California, as one of the youngest girls out of 17 children. Coleman said as a child she was very guarded but also was encouraged to do what she wanted to do with her life. 

At 13, Coleman faced major trials and tribulations within her family as her parents divorced and her older brother Louis was shot non-fatally.

Around this time is when Coleman first began writing poetry. Coleman says every artist has something that sparks their creativity, whether it’s a trauma or a change that happens in life. 

Coleman described her parent’s divorce as her first heartbreak, and said poetry was a way to cope with the pain and express herself. 

“Poetry was a way I could feel heard without anyone listening,” Coleman said.

Coleman also said that for her, writing is a form of therapy. 

Story continues below picture.

Khala Clarke
Maya Coleman in her dorm room at Sac State, Sept. 18, 2019. Coleman draws poetic inspiration from her roots.

“Poetry is my way of processing, my way of therapy, my way of releasing what I experience and being able to put it into words that I customize,” Coleman said. “Poetry to me is structuring words to invoke something rather than to just talk, it’s being very strategic with how you phrase something so it can be felt not just read.”

Coleman’s poetry and video blogs can be found on her Instagram, where she voices her knowledge on topics including self-awareness, self-love and life.

Story continues below post.

“When it comes to the Black community, therapy and mental health isn’t a hot topic, and Maya’s posts and messages on her page serve as an outlet to finding a way to understand yourself,” said Justin Corimer, Coleman’s older brother. “For many, Maya is a therapy session.”

Coleman describes herself as a person who is in tune with her purpose. In addition to poetry, Coleman is also a staunch activist, serving as the 2019-20 Off Campus Community Activist for Sac State’s Black Student Union. In this role, she builds connections with leaders in the local area, while also bringing awareness to the current reality of what’s taking place in the Black community. 

Khala Clarke
Maya Coleman in her role as the Black Student Union’s Off Campus Community Activist Sept. 19 at Sac State.

“I’m not perfect, but I love helping people,” Coleman said. “It brings me a lot of joy and a lot of purpose to just be of service to people. I’m able to speak to people in a way that touches them, helping them feel seen and heard.” 

Coleman uses her voice to provoke thought, understanding and action. Every Wednesday, Coleman participates in #wisewordwenesday, a weekly call to action presented by @_fyb_official, an Instagram profile that serves as a platform for individuals to share experiences and lessons that may help others.

“Maya’s poems and videos help people in the way that she brings everything about life and love into focus,” said Angelina Casillas, a long-time friend of Coleman. “Maya’s vulnerability and transparency on her profile helps people feel comfortable enough to open up and express themselves as well.” 

Story continues below post.

Coleman is also a residential adviser on campus. As a residential adviser, Coleman is able to serve as a helping hand for students, and learn new things from them as well.

“Maya has impacted me tremendously,” said Uchenna Ohaeri, a child development major at Sac State and another long-term friend of Coleman. “She’s a light that never burns out, because her passion keeps her lit.”