advocacy

Amanda Gorman biography: 13 things about 1st U.S. National Youth Poet Laureate

Amanda Gorman is an African-American woman from Los Angeles, California, United States. She is a poet and an activist.

Among the issues Gorman focuses on are oppression, marginalization, feminism, racism, police brutality, incarceration of migrant children, abortion bans in the U.S. and the African diaspora. Here are 13 more things about her:

  1. She and her twin sister Gabrielle Gorman have one more sibling. They were raised in West Los Angeles, California by their single mother Joan Woods, a sixth grade English teacher in Watts, Los Angeles. (a)
  2. She and Gabrielle grew up with a childhood speech impediment. She had difficulty saying certain letters of the alphabet, especially the letter R, so instead of saying, “Girls can change the world,” she would say, “Young women can shape the globe.” (b)
  3. She went to New Roads School, a K-12 private school in Santa Monica, California. (a) When she was in second grade, she performed a monologue in the voice of Chief Osceola of Florida’s Seminole tribe. Her interest in poetry started when her third grade teacher read “Dandelion Wine” by Ray Bradbury to the class. (c)
  4. After watching a speech from Nobel Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan, she was inspired to become a youth delegate for the United Nations in 2013. (c)
  5. In 2014, she was named the Youth Poet Laureate of Los Angeles. (b) In the same year, she founded One Pen One Page, a non-profit organization that encourages youth advocacy, leadership development and poetry workshops. (e) 
  6. In 2015, Urban Word LA published her book “The One for Whom Food Is Not Enough.” (f) 
  7. She was 19 years old when she became the inaugural National Youth Poet Laureate of the U.S. in April 2017. (a) On September 13, 2017, she recited her poem “In This Place (An American Lyric)”  at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., USA. That was where 46th U.S. president Joe Biden‘s wife Dr. Jill Biden discovered her. Since then, Jill has been a fan of her work. (c) (g)
  8. She went to Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA where she studied sociology. (a)
  9. Maya Angelou, J.K. Rowling, Toni Morrison and Ron Chernow are among her favorite authors. (a) Toni Morrison and Yusef Komunyakaa are among her artistic influences. (h)
  10. She wrote the poem “The Hill We Climb” while watching news about how 45th U.S. president Donald Trump‘s supporters breached the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. on January 6, 2021. She recited the poem during the inauguration of the 46th U.S. president in the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2021, making her the youngest poet to write and recite a piece at a U.S. presidential inauguration. (c) During the event, she wore a pair of earrings and a ring she received as gifts from Oprah Winfrey. (g) (i) 
  11. She will release two children’s books. The first one titled “Change Sings” features Loren Long‘s illustrations and will be out in September 2021. (c)
  12. Inspired by 49th U.S. vice president Kamala Harris, she is the first person to announce her intention to run for U.S. president in 2036. (c)
  13. She signed with IMG Models, the international modeling agency announced on Twitter on January 26, 2021. (j)

 

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