In a disappointing turn of events, a Florida school has come under fire for restricting access to Amanda Gorman’s iconic inauguration poem, “The Hill We Climb.”
The Bob Graham Education Center in Miami Lakes, part of the Miami-Dade County school district, determined that the inauguration poem was more appropriate for middle school students after a parent complained about it.
This decision has left the young poet herself, now 25, feeling “gutted” and advocating for the right of young people to engage with literature freely.
Gorman’s inauguration poem, delivered at President Biden’s swearing-in ceremony, resonated deeply with audiences of all ages and backgrounds. It was intentionally crafted to ensure that young people could see themselves represented in a historical moment.
Since then, Gorman has received an outpouring of letters and videos from children who were inspired by her words to write their own poems. The decision to restrict access to “The Hill We Climb” at the Bob Graham Education Center can be seen as a violation of young students’ right to free thought and free speech.
View this post on Instagram
The Miami-Dade County Public Schools clarified that the poem has not been banned or removed from the library but has been relocated to the middle school section. They maintain that it was a school-level decision to ensure the appropriateness of the content for their students.
However, the complaint against Amanda Gorman’s poem, filed by a parent named Daily Salinas, claims that the work seeks to “cause confusion and indoctrinate students.” It is worth noting that the complaint mistakenly attributes the poem to Oprah Winfrey, who actually wrote the foreword to a hardcover edition of Gorman’s poem.
This incident is part of a larger trend in Florida and across the United States where books are being banned or restricted in schools. Florida enacted three laws last year that target educational materials, and efforts to ban books are increasingly driven by elected officials and activist groups.
According to reports by PEN America and the American Library Association, marginalized voices, particularly those of queer and non-white authors, are disproportionately affected.
Fortunately, not everyone supports such censorship. Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, recognizing the power and importance of Gorman’s poem, has invited her to do a reading in the county. The invitation demonstrates a commitment to promoting free speech and encouraging youth participation in government.
The debate surrounding Amanda Gorman’s poem reflects the ongoing struggle for inclusivity, diversity, and freedom of expression, and more can read about this herelit.
Restricting access to literature, especially works that empower marginalized communities, is a step backward. It is crucial that we protect the rights of young people to engage with a wide range of ideas and perspectives. Only by doing so can we foster a society that values and celebrates the voices of all its citizens.
Amanda Gorman “The Hill We Climb” Inauguration Poem
When day comes we ask ourselves,
where can we find light in this never-ending shade?
The loss we carry,
a sea we must wade.
We’ve braved the belly of the beast,
We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace,
and the norms and notions
of what just is
isn’t always just-ice.
And yet the dawn is ours
before we knew it.
Somehow we do it.
Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed
a nation that isn’t broken,
but simply unfinished.
We the successors of a country and a time
where a skinny Black girl
descended from slaves and raised by a single mother
can dream of becoming president
only to find herself reciting for one.
And yes we are far from polished.
Far from pristine.
But that doesn’t mean we are
striving to form a union that is perfect.
We are striving to forge a union with purpose,
to compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and
conditions of man.
And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us,
but what stands before us.
We close the divide because we know, to put our future first,
we must first put our differences aside.
We lay down our arms
so we can reach out our arms
to one another.
We seek harm to none and harmony for all.
Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true,
that even as we grieved, we grew,
that even as we hurt, we hoped,
that even as we tired, we tried,
that we’ll forever be tied together, victorious.
Not because we will never again know defeat,
but because we will never again sow division.
Scripture tells us to envision
that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree
and no one shall make them afraid.
If we’re to live up to our own time,
then victory won’t lie in the blade.
But in all the bridges we’ve made,
that is the promise to glade,
the hill we climb.
If only we dare.
It’s because being American is more than a pride we inherit,
it’s the past we step into
and how we repair it.
We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation
rather than share it.
Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy.
And this effort very nearly succeeded.
But while democracy can be periodically delayed,
it can never be permanently defeated.
In this truth,
in this faith we trust.
For while we have our eyes on the future,
history has its eyes on us.
This is the era of just redemption
we feared at its inception.
We did not feel prepared to be the heirs
of such a terrifying hour
but within it we found the power
to author a new chapter.
To offer hope and laughter to ourselves.
So while once we asked,
how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe?
Now we assert,
How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?
We will not march back to what was,
but move to what shall be.
A country that is bruised but whole,
benevolent but bold,
fierce and free.
We will not be turned around
or interrupted by intimidation,
because we know our inaction and inertia
will be the inheritance of the next generation.
Our blunders become their burdens.
But one thing is certain,
If we merge mercy with might,
and might with right,
then love becomes our legacy,
and change our children’s birthright.
So let us leave behind a country
better than the one we were left with.
Every breath from my bronze-pounded chest,
we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one.
We will rise from the gold-limbed hills of the west.
We will rise from the windswept northeast,
where our forefathers first realized revolution.
We will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the midwestern states.
We will rise from the sunbaked south.
We will rebuild, reconcile and recover.
And every known nook of our nation and
every corner called our country,
our people diverse and beautiful will emerge,
battered and beautiful.
When day comes we step out of the shade,
aflame and unafraid,
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.