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WriteGirl Alum Amanda Gorman to Perform Poetry at Biden-Harris Inauguration

The first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate will perform her poem “The Hill We Climb” at the swearing-in ceremony.


You’ve heard us talk about Amanda Gorman for years, but tomorrow, the whole world will get to see her. We’re so excited! WriteGirl alum Amanda Gorman has been named Inaugural Poet for the 59th Inaugural Ceremonies on Jan. 20, 2021, when Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Kamala D. Harris will be sworn in as President and Vice President of the United States.

The swearing-in ceremony is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. ET (7:30 a.m. PT) on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

WriteGirl will be hosting an online watch party on Inauguration Day for its volunteers, alumnae and current teen participants to watch her performance.

Amanda will perform her poem “The Hill We Climb” at the event, which also includes the national anthem sung by Lady Gaga and a musical performance by Jennifer Lopez. Other participants in the swearing-in ceremony include Father Leo J. O’Donovan delivering the invocation, Andrea Hall leading the Pledge of Allegiance and Rev. Dr. Silvester Beaman giving the benediction.

Amanda was born and raised in Los Angeles, and from an early age, she turned to writing to cope with her speech impediment. At age 14, she joined WriteGirl and attended WriteGirl’s monthly creative writing workshops on genres ranging from poetry to songwriting. She was matched with writing mentors for one-on-one mentoring, and while in WriteGirl, Amanda was named the first-ever Los Angeles Youth Poet Laureate.

“WriteGirl has been pivotal in my life. It’s been thanks to their support that I’ve been able to chase my dreams as a writer,” Amanda said. “Special shout-out to my former mentors Michelle and Dinah. Couldn’t have gotten here without you!”

Amanda Gorman is the youngest Inaugural Poet in U.S. history, at just 22 years old. She also made history in 2017 when she was named the first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate of the United States. Amanda recently graduated cum laude from Harvard University and she has two books forthcoming with Penguin Random House – her children's book Change Sings and an upcoming poetry collection.

"We're extremely proud and excited for a WriteGirl alum to take the national stage and share her powerful voice at a pivotal moment in our nation's history,” said WriteGirl Executive Director Keren Taylor. “We have no doubt Amanda's messages of hope, unity and justice will help us all heal and move forward."

In performing her poetry on Jan. 20th, Amanda joins a handful of poets who have been asked to join the inaugural ceremonies, beginning in 1961 with John F. Kennedy inviting Robert Frost to read his poem “The Gift Outright.” Bill Clinton followed suit in 1993 with Maya Angelou, who won a GRAMMY Award for her performance of “On the Pulse of Morning,” and Miller Williams in 1997. And Barack Obama included poets Elizabeth Alexander and Richard Blanco in his inaugural ceremonies.
About WriteGirl

Founded in 2001, WriteGirl is a nationally-recognized creative writing and mentoring organization serving more than 500 teens annually, mainly from LA's high-density neighborhoods. WriteGirl envisions a world where all teens live, write, and speak boldly as they become inspiring, transformative leaders, driven to effect positive change in their communities. Now in its 20th season, WriteGirl has maintained a 100 percent success rate in helping its seniors not only graduate from high school, but also enroll in college. WriteGirl also works with boys and co-ed groups under the name “Bold Ink Writers.” As a founding member of the Arts for Healing and Justice Network (AHJN), Bold Ink Writers brings creative writing workshops and mentors to incarcerated and systems-impacted youth. For more information, visit www.writegirl.org.


National Recognition for WriteGirl:

WriteGirl has won more than 90 awards for its 19 years of empowering teen girls. WriteGirl and Executive Director Keren Taylor were awarded the 2020 Los Angeles Times Innovator Award and in 2014 Keren Taylor was named a CNN Hero. In 2013, WriteGirl was honored by First Lady Michelle Obama with the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award – an initiative of the President’s Committee on the Arts & the Humanities and the highest national honor awarded to exemplary out-of-school time programs. 

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