Amanda Gorman inspires teens to overcome stereotypes about disabilities

By LILY SHAW

Amanda Gorman: a poet, activist and inspiration. Overcoming speech and auditory processing challenges are very challenging, but Gorman didn’t let that stop her. 

A digital drawing depicting Amanda Gorman speaking at the 2021 Inauguration. At the Inauguration, she recited her poem “The Hill We Climb” and became the youngest poet to speak at an inauguration (MIA ARANDA/ Ethic News art).

Nowadays, stereotypes are very common. People with disabilities are often underestimated or believed to be a burden or even be less successful than the average person. Gorman is living proof that disabilities do not determine your success.

Gorman was diagnosed with an auditory processing disorder in kindergarten. Auditory processing disorders make it difficult to understand what people are saying. She also has speech articulation issues. According to Understood, a non-profit program dedicated to helping children who learn differently, this disorder makes it difficult for her to pronounce particular words and sounds. 

Although she battles these challenges, Gorman has been invited to speak at high-profile events. During the 2021 Inauguration, as President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were sworn in, Gorman recited her poem “The Hill We Climb” as the whole world watched. 

Zoie Wilson, a freshman at Redlands East Valley, said, “I thought Amanda Gorman’s poem, ‘The Hill We Climb’ was breathtaking. She addresses multiple topics that are very relevant to our country right now including economic, social and political issues. She also discusses racial injustice and black power.” 

Gorman’s uprising followed briefly after her poetry. Gorman has gained over 300,000 followers on Twitter and over 2,000,000 followers on Instagram after reading at the Inauguration. She also has had the opportunity to be featured on various television shows such as The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Daily Show, Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, The Late Late Show with James Corden and a few others.

During the pre-show of the Super Bowl LV, Gorman entertained an audience of tens of millions of people. Gorman gave a new poem presentation of her poem “Chorus of the Captains.” Not only was her pre-recorded performance fantastic, but she is the only poet to ever perform at the Super Bowl.

Riley Hoekstra, a sophomore at Citrus Valley High School, says, “I feel that Amanda Gorman is one of the people many teens will look up to. At age 22, she is the youngest person to speak at the Inauguration and the only poet to perform at the Super Bowl. She has shown that disabilities don’t stop her and overcoming stereotypes as a teenager is possible.”

The inspiration of Amanda Gorman will last forever. Three of her works: Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem, The Hill We Climb and The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country are being published as books this year. Redlands-owned bookstore, The Frugal Frigate, is taking preorders of “The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country” for $15.99.

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