Amanda Gorman calls on Americans to 'leave behind a country better than the one we were left' in powerful inauguration poem
Posted January 20, 2021 12:53 p.m. EST
CNN — Amanda Gorman, the nation's first-ever youth poet laureate, called for Americans Wednesday to "leave behind a country better than the one we were left" and unify together as she spoke at President Joe Biden's inauguration.
"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," Gorman, 22, said.
Nodding to the deadly insurrection at the US capitol earlier this month, Gorman said, "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," she said.
Gorman previously told CNN that she drew inspiration for the poem from the two poems read at Barack Obama's inauguration -- Richard Blanco's 2013 "One Today" and Elizabeth Alexander's 2009 "Praise Song for the Day" -- and writers, like Walt Whitman and Frederick Douglass, whom she feels have spoken to the ideals of a nation.
She has recited her poetry at the Library of Congress, Boston's Symphony Hall, the Empire State Building's observation deck and all across the country, performing for such luminaries as Hillary Clinton, Al Gore and Lin-Manuel Miranda.
This story is breaking and will be updated.