22 year old delivers poem at inauguration

First National Youth Poet Laureate featured during Biden-Harris swearing-in ceremony

C-SPAN

Ella Noblin, Reporter

In an inauguration full of firsts, the poem delivered by a 22 year old from Los Angeles caught the attention of many Americans on Wednesday. 

Amanda Gorman delivered her poem “The Hill We Climb” after the 46th President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were sworn in, focusing on topics of unity, healing, hope, collaboration and the recent Capitol riots. 

“Amanda Gorman’s serene presence, powerful diction, and the precise use of her hands when speaking made her message and words extremely powerful,” senior Erandi Arciga Duenas said. “Her testimony uplifts the stories of millions of other women while echoing the oppression America should still be combating today.”

Following 2020 — a year of political divide, social injustice and the far-reaching negative impact of COVID-19 — Gorman’s words were aligned and reflective of the message Biden delivered in his speech to move the country forward. 

“I think her youth and experiences reflect the attention of the Biden-Harris administration to listening to this generation,” English teacher Julia Árce said. “I also think that her voice and words, in particular, are reflecting back a hope for healing in our country.”

Gorman is the youngest inaugural poet and the first person to be named National Youth Poet Laureate. Her age inspires young people who know that lyrics are very powerful, according to Árce. 

“I think Amanda Gorman set an example for how young people can make a big impact,” junior Chelsea Li said. “Her message was both hopeful and realistic, which I felt was very applicable to our current climate.” 

The Biden-Harris team made inroads with younger voters in the recent election, and Gorman’s appearance and message are symbolic of the new administration’s focus on a younger generation of voters. 

“As a woman of color myself living in America, the sight of such a young woman of color beautifully articulate the grandiose topics America still grapples with today was completely inspiring,” Duenas said. “Her words serve as a reminder that hope is once again restored in our nation and should not be given up.”

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