Meet America’s First Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman

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Photo by Anna Zhang

Aside from being a Harvard student, 19-year old Amanda Gorman has a long list of accomplishments under her belt.

The Los Angeles native made history when she became the first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate in April. The program, an initiative spearheaded by Urban Word, selects a poet who exhibits dedication to poetry, civic engagement, social justice and youth leadership. A poet and political activist, Gorman uses her art to discuss the intersection of social activism, personal narratives and history.

In addition to being an award-winning writer, she was also named the inaugural Los Angeles Youth Poet Laureate in 2014 and released a book of poetry, “The One for Whom Food Is Not Enough” the following year.

Citing well-known youth activist Malala Yousafzai as one of her earliest inspirations, Gorman realizes the importance of youth activism all too well.

“If you’re a young person in America, whether you’re a Republican, Democrat, whatever, you feel the division in the country right now,” Gorman said in an appearance on MTV’s TRL. “But what I’m also feeling is a huge wave of people like you all who are creative, who are young, who are fearless, who are working to bridge unity across the country and the world.”

In 2016, Gorman added entrepreneur to her resume when she founded One Pen One Page, a nonprofit organization that seeks to equip America’s youth with the literacy and leadership skills to enact social change.

What’s next for the Harvard sophomore?

“This is a long, long faraway goal, but [in] 2036 I am running for office to be President of the United States.”

Read more about Amanda and her journey here.

Kesi Felton

Fellow

Kési Felton is a junior Journalism major from Atlanta, Georgia.She currently serves as the Content Director for Her Campus Howard and the Director of Communications for the Howard University Student Association. In addition to writing her own personal blog, she has written articles for The Hilltop, Walker's Legacy and Pretty Girls Sweat, LLC. Through digital storytelling, Kési hopes to amplify the voices and stories of underrepresented communities, beginning with Black women.

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