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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Elon chapter.

Amanda Gorman touched the world after reciting her original poem, The Hill We Climb, at President Joe Biden’s Inauguration. Her meaningful words were timely and deserving of the overwhelming recognition she received following Inauguration Day. But, Gorman is so much more than her awards and achievements. She is empowering. She is courageous. She is persistent. She is an activist. She is a fighter. And she is an inspiration. 


Gorman grew up in Los Angeles and spent her childhood thinking and writing creatively. The magic of her prolific work led to countless speaking and performing engagements, ranging from the White House to the Lincoln Center. Perhaps the most historic of her achievements is being named the first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate in 2017. Since this accomplishment, Gorman graduated from Harvard cum laude, has won numerous awards for her writing, is in the process of publishing three books, and was the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history. While these awards and achievements are both impressive and important, they are not what make Amanda Gorman inspirational; her self-confidence and virtue make her the kind of young woman we should all aspire to be. 


Gorman’s resistance and persistence continue to shine through, especially as the world becomes more familiar with her work. In a 2018 interview with the Today Show’s Jenna Bush Hagar, she opened up about the struggles she faced in her childhood with a speech impediment and auditory processing disorder. It wasn’t until she discovered her intense love of poetry in the third grade that Gorman felt the hunger and determination to overcome this adversity. Her tenacious practice and reiteration reciting her favorite poems, gave her the confidence to not only acknowledge her strength, but use it to her advantage. Although Gorman was not naturally drawn to the stage or public speaking, poetry opened up a creative door for self-expression, and literally gave her the voice she needed to feel empowered. The ability to use her voice in a meaningful way through poetry was life-changing. 


“What that told me, was the power of your inner voice, over that which people might hear through their ears,” Gorman said. 


And recently, Gorman opened up about a painful experience, claiming she was tailed by a security guard on her way home after he told her she looked ‘suspicious’. 


“This is the reality of black girls,” she wrote on Twitter . “One day you’re called an icon, the next day, a threat.” 


Gorman’s open and honest dialogue regarding this experience gained the support of countless allies across the country and is just another example of using her voice for power and change.  

At just 22 years old, Gorman is someone that women our age can look up to, and admire not only for her accomplishments, but for the person, the woman she is. She preaches self-advocacy and endurance, qualities that encourage confidence and prowess. She is the epitome of what we can become when we simply persist and believe in ourselves, something we often need a little reminder of. 


There is a reason Gorman’s words on January 20 rang so true. She uses her voice to advocate for change and justice, a reminder of what we are capable of when we believe in ourselves and our power. She represents everything we should strive for as young women, not only for her incredible work, but for the virtues she holds while pursuing it. Gorman is an empowering force and continues to be an active voice in raising up her fellow women. 


“I think breaking through, especially in this day and age, is not only breaking through the door, but it’s holding it open so that other people can come through,” Gorman says. “Focus on your path, focus on your purpose and how you specifically and specially as yourself can break through the barrier.”

Hello world! My name is Genevieve and I am a Journalism and Strategic Communications student at Elon University. I am your girl for all things pop culture or fashion, and when I'm not daydreaming about New York City, you can always catch me with a big cup of coffee scrolling through Pinterest or reading a good book. I'm a creative and outgoing girl with big dreams and an optimistic spirit.