Amanda Gorman, the nation’s first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate, delivered a gripping poem called “The Hill We Climb” at Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday.
Following performances by Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, and Garth Brooks, the 22-year-old stood at the podium in a canary yellow coat as she addressed the crowd. “Being American is more than a pride we inherit,” she proclaimed. “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 our democracy. And this effort very nearly succeeded.”
“Being American is more than a pride we inherit. It’s the past we step into.”
— Bloomberg (@business) January 20, 2021
Gorman captivated the crowd with words for the future while addressing the Capitol riots earlier this month. “One thing is certain,” she said, “if we merge mercy with might and might with rights, then love becomes our legacy…in change, our children’s birthright.”
Gorman spoke this CBS News this morning prior to her speech. “It’s amazing…Especially at my age,” she said. “No one really gets to say, ‘At 22, I am the inaugural poet. “And then on the Wednesday in which we saw the insurrection at the Capitol, that was the day that the poem really came to life. And I really put pedal to the metal. I wanted it to be a message of hope and unity. And I think that Wednesday for me really just underscored how much that was needed. But to not turn a blind eye to the cracks that really need to be filled.”
Read Rolling Stone‘s 2019 profile of Gorman here.