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Who is Amanda Gorman, viral Millennial poet from Biden-Harris Inauguration?

Amanda Gorman became the star performer at Joe Biden and Kamala Harris's inauguration ceremony as she read her thought-provoking poem, The Hill We Climb.

UPDATED: January 21, 2021 11:19 IST

The inauguration ceremony of US President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on Wednesday was attended by several popular American entertainers like Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez, who also gave power-packed performances. However, the star performer of the event turned out to be 22-year-old Amanda Gorman, who read poem called The Hill We Climb.

WHO IS AMANDA GORMAN?

Amanda Gorman is America’s first National Youth Poet Laureate. She became the youngest poet ever to deliver a recitation for an American President at an inaugural ceremony. The Millennial poet is a Los Angeles-born writer, performer and activist. Her work focuses on issues of oppression, feminism, race, and marginalization, as well as the African diaspora.

 

She was raised by her mother, a teacher named Joan Wicks, with her two siblings. She studied sociology at Harvard College, and there she became the first person to be named national youth poet laureate in April 2017. She also has a book of poetry named The One For Whom Food Is Not Enough. In 2017, Gorman said she wants to run for president in 2036, and she addressed the same in her inaugural poem.

AMANDA GORMAN’S VIRAL POEM

Wearing a yellow coat, red headband, a statement ring and earrings, Amanda read a thought-provoking poem she wrote for the occasion called “The Hill We Climb” in Washington DC. It spoke about the resilience of democracy and the need for unity, a theme close to the new president’s heart.

Watch her poem:

Here is the full text of her poem:

“When day comes we ask ourselves, where can we find light in this never-ending shade?

The loss we carry, a sea we must wade.

We’ve braved the belly of the beast

We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace.

And the norms and notions of what just is

Isn’t always just-ice

And yet the dawn is ours before we knew it

Somehow we do it

Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed a nation that isn’t broken

but simply unfinished

We the successors of a country and a time

Where a skinny Black girl, descended from slaves and raised by a single mother can dream of becoming president

Only to find herself reciting for one

And yes we are far from polished, far from pristine

but that doesn’t mean we are striving to form a union that is perfect

We are striving to forge a union with purpose

To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and conditions of man

And so we lift our gaze not to what stands between us

but what stands before us

We close the divide because we know, to put our future first,

we must first put our differences aside

We lay down our arms, so we can reach out our arms to one another

We seek harm to none and harmony for all

Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true

That even as we grieved, we grew

That even as we hurt, we hoped

That even as we tired, we tried

That we’ll forever be tied together, victorious

Not because we will never again know defeat

but because we will never again sow division

Scripture tells us to envision that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree

And no one shall make them afraid

If we’re to live up to our own time then victory won’t lie in the blade

But in all the bridges we’ve made

That is the promise to glade

The hill we climb

If only we dare

It’s because being American is more than a pride we inherit,

it’s the past we step into and how we repair it

We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it

Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy

And this effort very nearly succeeded

But while democracy can be periodically delayed

it can never be permanently defeated

In this truth, in this faith we trust

For while we have our eyes on the future, history has its eyes on us

This is the era of just redemption

We feared at its inception

We did not feel prepared to be the heirs of such a terrifying hour

but within it we found the power to author a new chapter

To offer hope and laughter to ourselves

So, while once we asked, how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe?

Now we assert, how could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?

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 burdens

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

So let us leave behind a country better than the one we were left with

Every breath from my bronze-pounded chest,

we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one

We will rise from the gold-limbed hills of the west,

we will rise from the windswept northeast

where our forefathers first realized revolution

We will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the midwestern states,

we will rise from the sunbaked south

We will rebuild, reconcile and recover and every known nook of our nation and every corner called our country,

our people diverse and beautiful will emerge, battered and beautiful

When 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.”

As a young African-American woman, Amanda acknowledged what her presence on the inaugural stage meant in “a country and a time where a skinny black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother can dream of becoming president, only to find herself reciting for one.”

 

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