By: SYDNEY YACULLO
As you may know, the Presidential Inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris was on Wednesday, January 20th. Wednesday was such an important and memorable day for most Americans.
One significant part of this event was the incredible Amanda Gorman reciting her poem entitled “The Hill We Climb”. This poem was a message of hope for the future as we enter this new era, and gained a lot of praise from all across the country.
Now you may be wondering, who is Amanda Gorman? LA times says, Gorman is a 22 year old Harvard graduate from Los Angeles, California. She was declared the first ever Youth poet laureate at age 17! A poet laureate is a poet who is appointed by the government to write poems for special occasions and events, such as the inauguration. This is such a huge accomplishment, as she is the youngest person to ever write a poem for the inauguration. This opportunity was given to her because “First Lady, Jill Biden, is a fan of her work and convinced the inaugural committee that Gorman would be a perfect fit.” States the LA Times.
Not only is this poem getting praised for how young Gorman is, but the poem itself is insanely beautiful, and took everyone’s breath away. This poem discusses the hardships we as a country have faced over the last few years, and over the entire history of the United States.
In an interview with The New York Times, Gorman states, “I had this huge thing, probably one of the most important things I’ll ever do in my career. It was like, If I try to climb this mountain all at once, I’m just going to pass out.” The Nytimes also states that before the events on January 6th when the Capitol was invaded, Gorman hadn’t finished the poem. The storming of the Capitol inspired her to finish the poem, and include a few lines regarding the event.
The poem was a beautiful representation of some things that have happened within the past few years, and how us as a country can grow from it. The very first line of this poem states, “When the day comes, we ask ourselves, where can we find light in this never ending shade?” She is using this incredible metaphor of light and dark. So many horrific things happened within the past few years and it felt like we couldn’t find the happiness and light inside of the dark. The idea that we couldn’t find the end to our suffering was the concept of the whole poem. Within the last couple of years, a lot of devastating things happened in this country. It felt like we would never see the light again. But, the last three lines of Gormans poem state, “For there was always light. If only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.” This is showing that all along, we, the citizens of the United States, are the light that we’ve been searching for.
In the poem, Gorman sheds light to a few moments of 2020 that affected the country deeply. The first line that resonated with many was “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.” This is referring to the amazing accomplishment of the U.S having its first woman of color as Vice President, Kamala Harris. This is such a huge step for our country. Finally, we are starting to have representation in politics. Little girls will finally be able to see someone that looks just like them in such a high position in their country.
Another line that strikes the events of 2020 is “That even as we grieved, we grew. That even as we hurt, we hoped.” This line shows the loss we as a country felt this year, losing so many black lives within the span of a few months. This year, the Black Lives Matter movement became extremely popular. We as a country grieved over the losses of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, etc. This line in particular is telling us that even though we were hurting over the loss of these beautiful people, we grew together, hoped together, and fought for what was right.
Finally, the line “We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation, rather than share it. Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy.” refers to the Capitol invasion that occurred on January 6th. As I mentioned earlier, Gorman added to her poem after this event as it shook up the whole country. This day took a toll on all the citizens, as the security of one of the most important buildings in the country was breached.
The poem as a whole was such a beautiful piece to represent the hardships that this country has gone through, and how eye opening the past few years have been. This piece was touching to many, and really showcased Gormans incredible skills and impact. The poem’s tone was hopeful as we enter this new presidency, we can only hope that we continue to grow stronger and find our way out of the darkness.