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Amanda Gorman’s Biden Inaugural Poetry Banned in Florida Schools

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A poem written for President Joe Biden’s inauguration was put on a restricted list at a South Florida elementary school after a parent complaint.

Poet Amanda Gorman vowed to fight back in a Facebook post on Tuesday. Her poem “The Hill We Climb” was challenged along with several books by the parents of two students at the Bob Graham Education Center in Miami Lakes.

“I’m broken bones,” she wrote. “Depriving children of the opportunity to find their own voice in literature is a violation of their right to freedom of thought and speech.”

Gorman, who became the nation’s National Youth Poet Laureate at the age of 17, said he wrote the poem “The Hill We Climb” to “ensure that every young person can see themselves in this historic moment.” He said he has received countless letters and videos from children who have been affected. They were inspired to write their own poems.

She became an international sensation at Biden’s inauguration.

In “The Hill We Climb,” Gorman references everything from Bible verses to “Hamilton,” sometimes echoing speeches by Kennedy and the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. With her sense of urgency and her point, she begins to ask: Light/In this endless shadow?” And she used her own poetry and the story of her life as an answer.

She said she would share a message of hope for Biden’s inauguration without ignoring “evidence of discord and division.” She had completed just over half of her poems on January 6 and before the siege of the Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump.

Miami-Dade School District spokeswoman Anna Rose said in a statement that the poems and books are still available at the middle school media center.

Book bans are nothing new, but they’re especially frequent in Florida, where Republican Governor Ron DeSantis called for the censorship of books that some deemed unsuitable for school children. It supports a policy of recognition, causing a nationwide uproar.

DeSantis, who ran for president on Wednesday in 2024, has leaned heavily into cultural divides around race, sexual orientation and gender as he garners support from conservative voters who will decide the Republican primary.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre condemned Gorman’s decision to ban the poem and said Biden and the administration stand by Gorman.

“The president was proud to have Gorman, the youngest poet, to speak at his inauguration,” she said.

“Banning books is censorship, of course,” she added. “This limits America’s freedom, the freedom of the American people, and we should all oppose that kind of conduct.”

Esenia Martinez, principal of a kindergarten through eighth school that is part of the Miami-Dade public school system, did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment on the poetry ban. The school is named after Bob Graham, a former Democratic Governor and Senator from Florida.

“We are not going to remove or censor any book,” Daley Salinas, a parent who opposed the poems and books, told the Miami Herald. Salinas said he wants the material to be right. It was not immediately clear what she was against in Gorman’s poetry.

The paper reported that following her complaint, a materials review committee consisting of three teachers—a library media expert, a career guidance counselor, and the principal—said that one of the books in question was out of balance. We have decided that it is age-appropriate and will continue to be available to all students. .

The other four were considered ‘better’ or ‘better’ by junior high school students. The jury concluded that these books were to remain in the Middle School section of the Media Center.

“Let me be clear, most of the forbidden works are by authors who have struggled for generations to find their way onto the shelves,” Gorman wrote in his post. “The majority of these censored works are by queer and non-white voices.”


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Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

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