"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."
Those were the exposed, unhealed, yet eloquent words of Amanda Gorman. This young African American woman left an impression on over a million viewers' hearts during the 2021 Presidential inauguration. Inaugural Poet Amanda Gorman, age 22, was celebrated for her unforgettable performance. Many have even drawn a connection to Gorman's "The Hills We Climb" poem, voice, and delivery to the famed Poet Maya Angelou. In addition to being a recent graduate of Harvard University, Gorman is the youngest inaugural poet ever in the United States. Gorman was named the Youth Poet Laureate of Los Angeles in 2014, becoming the first National Youth Poet Laureate three years later.
Although millions had their first introduction to the history-making iGen poet, Gorman is not new to being in the spotlight making change. Gorman is also an activist as her work focuses on issues of oppression, feminism, race, marginalization, and the African diaspora.
The road has not been easy for Amanda Gorman as she's overcome some challenging hills of her own. Her performance on Capitol Hill held special meaning for the children, and their parents, who struggle with the same learning and speech challenges Gorman had to overcome to reach that stage.
Growing up, Gorman was diagnosed with an auditory processing disorder in kindergarten and has struggled with speech articulation throughout her life. Back in 2018, Gorman shared that she used writing to get her voice on the page. Practicing and reciting her poetry became its own form of speech pathology for her. Gorman continues to beat the status quo by debuting her new children's book, "Change Sings," and a poetry collection, "The Hill We Climb," being released in September 2021.
Talents that grow into legacy
To be diagnosed with auditory processing disorder at such a young age, then stepping on Capital Hill's podium to deliver a speech to the President of the United States at age 22, gives hope and drive to overcome for girls everywhere. Witnessing Gorman's accomplishments inspires all of us to know that you are not defined by your short-comings or imprisoned by your diagnosis.
Like Gorman, we are all born with creative gifts that need to be shared with the world. Gorman is a writer and perhaps a lyrist that know how to turn language into art. She not only indulges in her craft but utilizes it toward activism, highlighting societal issues occurring during her time. Her skill and how she uses it is her legacy!
What will be your legacy? As young girls or women, we live in a society where all talents and gifts can bring a legacy to an individual's future, as well as the economic and societal future. You can use your gifts, overcome all limitations, disrupt injustice, breakthrough new technological advances, or be the cure of calmness to a stressful heart.
As the powerful words of Amanda Gorman say,
"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",
how will you be the change in your societal environment?
I dare you to contemplate on those thoughts while we wait to see your light shine into the world!