Millions of Americans gathered around their televisions to watch the inauguration of the 46th President of the United States, and the first-ever Vice President of color, who also happens to be a woman. We gathered around our brightly-lit screens to take in the history that was being made, regardless of party. Many of us with daughters watched their reactions as they saw someone who looked like them take her oath to serve our country as Vice President.
And while our hearts were filled with joy at this history being made, a young woman stole the show.
Amanda Gorman is a young poet, just 23 years old, and a cum laude Harvard graduate. Raised by a single mother along with two siblings, Amanda’s eloquent reciting of the poem “The Hill We Climb” was what brought many spectators to tears. Her delivery was gentle and rhythmic; the words flowed from her small frame as if she were speaking directly to the hearts of Americans. She radiated confidence as she spoke not only in front of the socially distanced crowd but to the millions at home watching on their screens.
She not only captivated the nation—she made history herself.
Ms. Gorman was the youngest person ever invited to speak at a Presidential Inauguration. It’s a decision that elevated her platform (her first children’s book is available for pre-order now!) and soothed many souls. The message of her poem was just what a fractured country needed to hear. She spoke for nearly six minutes, and by the end of her poem, left those who heard it with a little more hope for the future.
Watching her speak made me feel hopeful for the first time in months. It was as if the air had suddenly been let back into the room where I stood tensed with eyes squeezed tight. Feeling the pride swell in my chest as the tension simultaneously released from my body was surreal, and listening to her deliver her poem with such grace as my own daughter—not much younger than her—watched on and saw limits being lifted caused stinging behind my own eyes.
The next generation is full of powerhouses and change-makers and the future is bright, for, as. Ms. Gorman so beautifully said, “there is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.”
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