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One the Desk

To Be Young Gifted and Black: Finding Black Excellence in “The Hill We Climb”

Sweet Baby Jesus!! Today (and yesterday) we witnessed #BlackExcellence and #Herstory in multiple ways, from the swearing in of Madame Vice President Kamala V. Harris, to the inspiring benediction by Rev. Dr. Silvester Beaman, to the full display of Black fashion (Pyer Moss, Christopher John Rogers, Sergio Hudson), to the powerful and poignant National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman !! My cup runneth over and I was filled with pure joy and happiness.

However, one moment in particular that stood out for me was witnessing 22-year old Amanda Gorman recite her poem The Hill We Climb on the Capitol steps this morning! Gorman’s poem was more than just words on a paper, but a call to the past, a moment to reflect, a call to action, and a space to inspire. Glowing and shining like the North Star, Gorman stunned audiences with her long yellow coat and crisp white shirt, with a ruby red headband atop her braids … listening to her reminded me of watching Maya Angelou share her poem On the Pulse of Morning at President Bill Clinton’s 1992 inauguration.

Now we assert: How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?

Gorman’s words, poise, and presentation inspired me as a fellow Black woman and it is my hope and prayer that her action and representation inspires not only young girls, but women of all ages to make their voices heard!

National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman delivering her poem “The Hill We Climb”
during the Biden-Harris Inauguration on January 20th, 2021

Everything about this occasion reads dignified, graceful, and refreshing! She had such a natural flow…literally and physically! Gorman’s eloquent moment in so many ways channeled the legacies of Shirley Chisholm, Maya Angelou, Ella Baker, Toni Morrison, and Fannie Lou Hamer!! The foundations they established laid the groundwork for a young Black woman like Amanda Gorman. Ahhhh they would be so proud! The acknowledgement of this moment is essential and should not be forgotten, if anything we should continue to see more moments like this one!

Let me tell you the ancestors are truly smiling today!!

For there is always light if only we’re brave enough to see it, If only we’re brave enough to be it.

To see the full video and transcript, please see here!

~Dr. G.

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