What does National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman have in common with both Joe Biden and Maya Angelou?

They all had to work to overcome speech impediments. Poetry and the spoken word became the tool to address the challenge.

As a child, President Biden was mocked mercilessly by his older siblings and schoolmates. Joe has shared that he would stand in front of a mirror and recite poems for hours.

Maya Angelou experienced an anxiety disorder that causes a child to not speak due to trauma. During these five years, Maya’s listening, observing, and memorizing skills were heightened and her love of books expanded.

Gorman struggled with R’s. She’d recite the lyrics of the musical Hamilton to help. Thank you Aaron Burr, Sir.

Two days ago, Amanda shared “The Hill We Climb” during the inauguration. She nailed it. Here is one of my favorite parts:

“Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true:
That even as we grieved, we grew
That even as we hurt, we hoped
That even as we tired, we tried
That we’ll forever be tied together, victorious
Not because we will never again know defeat
but because we will never again sow division.”

Gorman, Angelou, and Biden turned a stigma into a strength. They leaned into what made them weird and it made them wonderful.

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