How Amanda Gorman Inspires Me as a Young, Black Female Writer
Photo Credit: Erin Schaff/AP/Shutterstock
The year 2020 was a year of pain, exhaustion, and struggle for the Black community. The headlines only got harder to digest each day, and the eagerness for a miraculous change was weighing heavily over our heads.
During these trying times, I found myself going toward what has been my safe space for years — writing. I’ve been a writer all my life, and it has been a creative outlet for me and a way to express my feelings without saying them aloud. When everything seemed to be unraveling in the world around me, I confided in writing to take my mind elsewhere.
I feel a powerful sense of hope and unity that I haven’t quite felt before.
Finding the creativity to write hasn’t been easy, especially with the unrest in the Black community, as well as what’s going on in the rest of the world. But on the morning of January 20, I was able to find the sign and inspiration I needed to continue pushing forward, all thanks to one person — Amanda Gorman.
Listening to Gorman recite her poem, The Hill We Climb, on Inauguration Day was mesmerizing. I was captivated by her powerful words, her presence, and the glimmer of hope that lingered strongly after she read her poem.
Breath of Fresh Air the Nation Needed
Hearing that poem, after the nation witnessed a series of unsettling events that took place in that same location not too long before the inauguration, was the breath of fresh air myself and so many others needed.
I instantly thought about the Black community and people of all ages who would be taking in this message along with me. I thought about the younger generation, who would now have such a powerful message to think back to while navigating difficult times in their lives, as well. Her words were the reassurance that so many of us needed to hear.
As a writer and someone who is the same age as Gorman, I developed a newfound appreciation for the craft of writing that she, I, and so many others share. I learned that my individual story can have a powerful impact on those who hear it.
For years, the Black community has been silenced, but by sharing her words with the nation, she represented strength, bravery, and incredible grace for the entire Black community and the nation as a whole.
More than a month later, Gorman’s speech is still heavily etched in my mind. I feel a powerful sense of hope and unity that I haven’t quite felt before. I’m so proud to have been able to witness such a special moment in history, and I am so grateful knowing that her words are now out for generations to embrace.
This post is part of a monthlong February CircleAround series tied to Black History Month — the first since the loud calls for social justice this past summer — in which we asked writers to explore the topic of race in America from a variety of perspectives. The murder of George Floyd last summer catalyzed a national reckoning on race, with many questions to be answered. To see all the posts in the series — including relevant news stories — visit here. And if you'd like to contribute to the series, send us your thoughts to email@example.com or post on our "2021 Inspiration Wall."