Following President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris taking their respective oaths of office on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 22-year-old poet and activist Amanda Gorman took the stage to read an inspiring poem, becoming the youngest person to do so at an inauguration. Gorman is no stranger to making history. In 2017, she became the first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate, and she showed off her talent during the inauguration. This video of Amanda Gorman's poetry reading at Biden's 2021 inauguration speaks to the hope for an equitable future for all Americans, and it'll give you chills.
Per CNBC, Gorman began writing at a young age, and at 14, she joined a Los Angeles-based nonprofit for creative writing, WriteGirl. At the young age of 16, she was named the Youth Poet Laureate of Los Angeles before she became the first National Youth Poet Laureate in 2017. First Lady Jill Biden invited Gorman to recite at the inauguration after seeing her talent at a Library of Congress reading.
In the video, she describes her vision of America through her reading of her poem "The Hills We Climb." The poem begins:
If we're to live up to our own time,
then victory won't lie in the blade
but all the bridges we've made.
That is the promise to glade,
the hill we climb, if only we dare.
The reading continues with lines that echo the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. On that day, two weeks ahead of Biden's inauguration, a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol building, breaking in through windows and barricades and forcing legislators to evacuate or shelter in place. Then-President Donald Trump was blamed for inciting the riot during his "Save America" rally earlier in the day, and has since been impeached on a charge of incitement of insurrection. Representatives for Trump did not previously respond to Elite Daily's request for comment on Trump's role in inciting the riot, or on his impeachment. Per The New York Times, Gorman was about halfway through writing the poem when the riot occurred, and she finished it that night, inspired by what had happened. The poem continues:
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.
Gorman's poem concluded on the inspiring lines:
If we merge mercy with light, and might with right,
then love becomes our legacy,
and change becomes our children's birthright.
You can watch the video of Gorman's poem here to hear the whole reading.
To watch more Inauguration Day ceremonies, you can tune in to the post-ceremony celebration, Celebrating America, from 8:30 to 10 p.m. ET on ABC, CNN, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, and the official YouTube livestream.