On two significant occasions in the United States this year (The Presidential Inauguration and Super Bowl), a rising young woman in the name of Amanda Gorman amazed the world that is desperately longing to hear comforting and pleasant words after series of tragedies.
Born in Los Angeles, California, Gorman was raised by a single mother, middle school teacher together with her twin sister. During her youth, she greatly enjoys reading, writing, learning, and other interests that are different than children of her age. Her love of literary works rooted back on her third grade when teacher read Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury.
She was diagnosed APD or auditory processing disorder as a child and also suffered from speech impediment, but she never thought of her conditions as a “crutch” rather “a gift and strength”. In 2012, she was enrolled in a writing workshop in WriteGirl, a nonprofit organization which aims to hone the leadership and writing skills, creativity, and critical thinking of teenage girls. Having empowered women as her support system has helped her developed her abilities, built her confidence, and attained her goals.
After being inspired by activist, Malala Yousafzai, Gorman became a young delegate of United Nations in 2014. In 2015, she published her first book, The One for Whom Food Is Not Enough. A year later, she founded an organization called One Pen One Page to “provide creative writing programming and publishing opportunities for underserved young people”.
Amanda Gorman made history as the first person to be the National Youth Poet Laureate in April 2017. Moreover, in the same year, she expressed interest in running for the President of the United States in 2036, which gathered support from vast number of people including Secretary Hillary Clinton.
Being an excellent and distinguished poet, Amanda Gorman has captivated the heart of Dr. Jill Biden which prompt her to invite her (Gorman) to perform in Joe Biden’s inauguration, making Gorman the youngest inaugural poet in US History. She performed her now famous poem, The Hill We Climb, a poem that she finished after the Capitol insurrection.
Here is a copy of Amanda Gorman’s poem, The Hill We Climb.
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 gazes 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.
Last February 7, she was chosen to perform a poem entitled “Chorus of the Captains” in the pregame of Super Bowl LV as a tribute to honorary captains who are considered as essential workers.
Until now, the problems and injustices in the society urges her to continue fighting using her magical mind and voice. Amanda Gorman has initially became the voice of hope and courage as she follow the path of the greatest poets before her like Maya Angelou and Robert Frost.
What do you think of Amanda Gorman dear readers? Who do you think is a Filipino counterpart of Amanda Gorman?