Amanda Gorman, 22, of Los Angeles, California, United States revealed that she was racially profiled recently. The first National Youth Poet Laureate took to Twitter to share the details of the incident.
According to Gorman, she was walking home on the evening of March 5, 2021 when a male security guard tailed her and asked if she lived there because she looked suspicious. When she showed her keys and buzzed herself into her building, he left without apologizing, she said.
For Gorman, the way the security guard saw her as a threat is in a sense not wrong. The African-American poet and activist considers herself a threat to injustice, inequality and ignorance.
Gorman and her twin sister Gabrielle Gorman were born in Los Angeles. They both grew up with a childhood speech impediment, which they eventually overcame.
Amanda became the Youth Poet Laureate of Los Angeles in 2014 and the inaugural National Youth Poet Laureate of the U.S. in 2017. In 2020, she graduated cum laude from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA with a bachelor’s degree in sociology.
On January 20, 2021, Amanda recited her poem “The Hill We Climb” during the inauguration of 46th U.S. president Joe Biden in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., USA. She was the youngest poet to write and recite a piece at a U.S. presidential inauguration.
During the event, Amanda wore a pair of earrings and a ring she received as gifts from Oprah Winfrey. Days later, the first National Youth Poet Laureate signed with IMG Models, the international modeling agency announced on Twitter on January 26, 2021.
In February 2021, International Booker Prize 2020 winner Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, 29, of the Netherlands was chosen to translate “The Hill We Climb” into Dutch but withdrew after criticism that the publisher had chosen a white translator. A book version of the poem with a foreword by Winfrey will be released on March 16, 2021.