2021 Everett Black History Month Essay
By Keara Farrell, Everett High School
When Americans think of influential black leaders, they are usually drawn to figures of the Civil War and Civil Rights Movement. Though these figures were indisputably influential, I find myself more inspired by more recent figures such as Amanda Gorman, the poet who spoke at Biden’s inauguration.
Gorman’s mindset towards success sets her apart from other black leaders. As a child, Gorman struggled to enunciate her words properly. Rather than allow this difficulty to stop her, Gorman used her disability as a drive to improve her speaking abilities. By using her personal struggles as motivation, Gorman teaches that personal struggles do not have to be a hindrance to someone’s life. Instead, they act as potential for people to better themselves.
Gorman’s focus towards children is also admirable. Children are often told that reforms must be made in society, yet not who should be making these changes. Through her children’s books, Gorman demonstrates how capable children are in reforming social inequities by portraying them as the individuals pursuing change. In short, Gorman pushes children to see themselves as leaders, meaning she has taken her own role as a black leader and used it to promote leadership in a new generation.
As the first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate, Gorman’s title alone makes her a pioneer to the black community, women and American youth alike. However, it is her ambition despite her disability and her dedication to helping the next generation lead that makes her so inspiring and exceptional as a black leader.