By: Sabrina Venezia and Diana Jones
The First African American Youth Poet Laureate of the United States Amanda Gorman is a youth poet who ignites social change with the power of writing. Growing up in Los Angeles, Amanda’s mother (and inspiration) single handedly raised her and her twin sister. Throughout her childhood, Amanda caught a passion for poetry, often writing in journals as a way of expressing herself. Although Amanda struggles with a speech impediment, she says that reading her poetry aloud enables her to feel strong and confident. Last year she graduated with a degree in sociology from Harvard University. Since then, she has shared her love of poetry throughout the nation while also using her platform for activism. She spreads awareness on the issues of oppression, race, feminism, and more. In an interview with TODAY, Amanda stated, “Poetry has always been the thread that is weaving through the fabric of global and American history.”
During the 2020 Presidential Inauguration, Amanda was invited to present her poem, “The Hill We Climb,” to the nation. In the line, “We need to lay down our arms so we can reach our arms out to one another,” Amanda emphasized how our country must unite together as one despite our differences in race, gender, and class. She acknowledged how far our country has come in the last hundreds of years, such as the fact that she as a black woman, descended from slaves, has the possibility to become president. Amanda’s work has been influenced by figures who had the same dreams as she, like Frederick Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.. Amanda Gorman continues her fight for social progression in America. Most recently, she appeared in the Superbowl opening video and voiced her appreciation for first responders to the pandemic.
Amanda has high aspirations for her future and plans to run for President of the United States in 2036. Because of young people like Amanda Gorman, our country has hope for creating a more equal society for generations to come.