Amanda Gordan gave a stirring reading at the Wednesday inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.
The Los Angeles-based poet — who at age 22 is the youngest inaugural poet in history — read her poem “The Hill We Climb,” which addressed the violence that occurred at the U.S. Capitol two weeks ago.
The text in part read:
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.
Gordan’s performance was hailed for its message of healing and hope in the face of forces seeking “delaying democracy,” as well as representing the future of America as a young Black woman. Previously, Gordon made history as the country’s first youth poet laureate.
The inauguration had many groundbreaking moments of change, most notably Harris’s swearing-in as the first Black, Asian-American, and woman vice president.
Notably, Donald Trump did not have a poet read at his inauguration, which was shunned by many in the artistic community. However, Barack Obama made a historic choice of an inaugural poet, Richard Blanco, a gay Latinx man who recited “One Today” at the 2013 ceremony.
Watch Gorman’s stirring reading below.