Jan. 20, 2020, officially marks a new day in American history and the fresh start of a new era for the United States with the historic swearing-in of Joe Biden as President and Kamala Harris as Vice President. The star-studded inauguration ceremony consisted of performances from Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, and Garth Brooks.
Yet, it was the touching and impactful poem, “The Hill to Climb,” recited by National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman that stunned millions around the world. This quickly transformed her from the youngest presidential inaugural poet in U.S. history into an internet sensation.
From the inaugural poem she recited, “We will rebuild, reconcile, and recover in every known nook of our nation in every corner called our country our people diverse and beautiful will emerge battered and beautiful when the day comes we step out of the shade aflame and unafraid, the new dawn blooms as we free it, for there is always light if only we’re brave enough to see it, if only we’re brave enough to be it.”
“We will not march back to what was but move to what shall be, a country that is bruised but whole, benevolent but bold, fierce and free, we will not be turned around or interrupted by intimidation because we know our inaction and inertia will be the inheritance of the next generation, our blunders become their burden. But one thing is certain: if we merge mercy with might and might with right, then love becomes our legacy and change our children’s birthright.”
Gorman is a 22-year-old award-winning poet and graduate of Harvard University from Los Angeles, California. Don’t let her young age fool you. This talented and soulful young lady’s words have won her invitations to the Obama White House and to perform for Lin-Manuel Miranda, Al Gore, Secretary Hillary Clinton, Malala Yousafzai, and others.
Gorman has performed multiple commissioned poems for CBS This Morning and she has spoken at events and venues across the country, including the Library of Congress and Lincoln Center.
Aside from her many accomplishments, Gorman has also received a Genius Grant from OZY Media, as well as recognition from Scholastic Inc., YoungArts, the Glamour magazine College Women of the Year Awards, and the Webby Awards. She has written for the New York Times newsletter The Edit and penned the manifesto for Nike’s 2020 Black History Month campaign.
Gorman is also the recipient of the Poets & Writers Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award and is the youngest board member of 826 National, the largest youth writing network in the United States. In 2017, UrbanWord and the Library of Congress named her the first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate in the United States.
With such a captivating recital, Gorman now joins the ranks of the legendary poet Maya Angelou. Her poignant poem was engulfed with words that have inspired this nation in ways that were unexpected yet so much needed as it moves forward in the progression towards a better tomorrow.