Amanda Gorman: taking activism to the next level
People that inspire us
10 october '22
Reading time: 6 minutes
Described as the youngest inaugural poet in American history, Amanda Gorman is taking activism to the next level, addressing relevant issues in front of big audiences through an attractive sought-after form of art.
Words by Bilgesu Altunkan
Picture by Lauren Dukoff
In the past few weeks, something significant happened. It was a poem. Amanda Gorman helped kick off the United Nations 77th General Assembly to call for climate action, and she recited a poem during an event called SDG Moment at United Nations headquarters. She recounted “An Ode We Owe,” discussing equality, poverty, and climate change. But, who is Amanda Gorman?
Amanda Gorman was born on March 7, 1998, in Los Angeles, California, and spent her life there. Described as an American poet and activist, Amanda writes poems about identity, feminism, marginalization, and climate change and addresses people with her poetry. One of the breakouts in her career is when she read her poem “The Hill We Climb” at the 2021 inauguration of the US Press to Joe Biden. Below are the words.
“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.”
Picture by Getty Images
A writer and dreamer
Amanda is a young woman who speaks to millions and describes herself as a writer and a dreamer. She’s the owner of bestseller poetry books, the sought-after face of red carpets and invitations, and she is featured on murals and works of art in different states of America.
Inspired by Malala Yousafzai, she became a youth delegate for the United Nations in 2013. She was the inaugural Los Angeles Youth Poet Laureate. She indeed worked with the County of Los Angeles Commission on Human Relations to develop youth programs.
Her first poetry book, “The One for Whom Food Is Not Enough”, was published in 2015. Later, Amanda enrolled at Harvard University in 2016, while her twin sister Gabrielle pursued film studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. Still, the sisters found interesting ways of collaborating, notably working on such projects as "Rise Up As One" (2018), a short film by Gabrielle about activism. In 2017, Amanda became the inaugural National Youth Poet Laureate. She toured the country reading new work, including "Earthrise", at the Los Angeles Climate Reality Leadership Corps Training (2018).
Picture by AP News
Her latest poem
This year, Amanda amazed everyone at The United Nations General Assembly, which is one of the five principal organs of the United Nations (UN) and is the only body in which all member nations are equally represented. Amanda opened the conference with her latest poem, “An Ode We Owe,” whose words are below:
“How can I ask you to do good
When we’ve barely withstood
Our greatest threats yet:
The depths of death, despair, and disparity,
Atrocities across cities, towns & countries,
Lives lost, climactic costs.
Exhausted, angered, we are endangered,
Not because of our numbers,
But because of our numbness. We’re strangers
To one another’s perils and pain,
Unaware that the welfare of the public
And the planet share a name–
Amanda Gorman is taking activism to the next level. As the youngest inaugural poet in American history, Amanda brings relevant topics and issues to the audience through a sought-after form of art that highly attracts the attention of the listeners. She invisibly works on the public’s emotions and she inspires people to reflect on the topics addressed.
In the twenty-first century, when there is so much we despair about, one person can come out and inspire us. It can appeal to young people, the elderly, and people from all walks of life. One of those people looks like young Amanda. We are already realizing that we will see this young poetess many times, who fearlessly voices the topics that need to be talked about, can express herself and makes people think while affecting them emotionally. We are very inspired by her form of activism and we’re looking forward to hearing other incredible works.