Who is Amanda Gorman?

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Zoe Chan, Journalist and Editor

“There is always light. If only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.” Would you like to know who said these inspiring words? Amanda Gordan, one of the most motivational poets and activists. You might recognize her from the poem she recited during the inauguration of President Biden. She also recited a poem at the Super Bowl. She focuses on issues about feminism, race, marginalization, and the African diaspora.

 

Amanda Gorman was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She has a twin sister named Gabrielle. She got a Milken Family Foundation college scholarship in her senior year and went to study sociology at Harvard University. She graduated in 2020. 

 

Only three presidents in the past had poems recited at their inauguration. Robert Frost was recruited by John F. Kennedy in 1961, Bill Clinton chose Maya Angelou when he first took office in 1993 and invited Miller Williams to recite at his second inauguration in 1997. Barack Obama recruited Elizabeth Alexander in 2009, then Richard Blanco in 2013. 

 

Amanda had a speech impediment as a child, just like Biden. This made her become more aware and made her “self-edit and self-police.” She struggled with some words, specifically with ‘r’s like poetry, girl, and Earth. She defeated these challenges and says she thinks her difficulties with speech helped her.