“You are never too young to lead and you should never doubt your capacity to triumph where others have not” – Kofi Annan. We, the youths of today, have so much potential which we can use to lead as the leaders of tomorrow. A great leader who exhibits this is Amanda Gorman.
Amanda Gorman is a 23-year-old American poet and activist known for her powerful poems about oppression, feminism, race, and marginalization. Gorman is an inspiration as she overcame speech and auditory processing challenges to end up performing one of her poems at the U.S presidential ceremony of President Biden early this year, 2021. Gorman courageously delivered her ‘The Hill We Climb’ poem that messages about hope, unity, healing, and resilience for America. She made a positive change that encouraged others to grasp opportunities and pursue their dreams despite the challenges faced. This positive change benefits aspiring poets, disabled people, people of color, and young women, including us, youths, to make our dreams a reality.
Born and raised by a single mother in Los Angeles along with a brother and her twin, Amanda Gorman developed a great love for poetry in third grade. Gorman developed an auditory processing disorder that caused a speech impediment after experiencing chronic ear infections when she was a baby. Despite being unable to pronounce certain consonants and sounds clearly, Gorman was determined to succeed no matter what. At the age of 16, Amanda Gorman became the Los Angeles youth poet laureate in 2014. A year later, she published her first poetry book, The One for Whom Food Is Not Enough. In 2017, she became the first young poet to open the Library of Congress’s literary season. In the same year, whilst studying sociology at Harvard College, where she graduated from in 2020, Gorman was selected as the first National Youth Poet Laureate of the U.S at the age of 19. She later rose to fame in 2021 after reading her ‘The Hill We Climb’ poem at Biden’s inauguration ceremony and is currently focusing on her career.
In 2016, Amanda Gorman founded her own non-profit organization called One Pen One Page that promotes youth literacy and leadership. Gorman believes that one kid, one pen and one page can change the world. With over 122 million illiterate youths in the world, according to the UN, One Pen One Page will prevent them from dropping out of school. Gorman aims to empower youths, like us, to use our voice and help eliminate inequality. She reminds us that voices are not meant to remain silent but to be heard. She, as a woman, a youth, a poet, and an activist, echoed the voices of youths around the globe. As the first youngest inaugural poet, Amanda Gorman, amongst many others, proved that age, flaws, color, or gender is irrelevant when change is needed.
In conclusion, Amanda Gorman has empowered, inspired and encouraged us youths to use our potential to shape the future generation. Her disability became her motivation. Her love for poetry became her passion. Her dream became a reality. We, the youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow.