As the first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate, Amanda Gorman was already known prior to her US Inauguration Day poetry reading. But “The Hill We Climb launched her into the stratosphere. Former First Lady Michelle Obama called Gorman a “poet who set the country on fire.”

Amanda GormanPoet Amanda Gorman speaks at the inauguration of U.S. President Biden on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Alex Wong/Getty Images

Listening around the world, the recitation from this fierce, bold poet drew chills. Amanda is a powerhouse, and is also an educational activist, which is why she is a perfect fit for this exhibition. She is open about her auditory processing disorder and speech difficulties, which is what makes her inaugural poem that much more remarkable and inspiring. In 2016, she founded a non-profit organization called One Pen One Page, which runs a youth writing and leadership program. 

One Pen One Page is a collective of global programs and initiatives supporting the idea that a kid, a pen, and a page can change the world. The non-profit promotes youth literacy and leadership through workshops, an online platform, partnership campaigns, and an annual symposium. They teach students to combine creative writing with social change, as a way to combat illiteracy and inequality. Amanda’s mother is an English teacher at an inner-city public school; Amanda was motivated to start the organization after seeing firsthand how critical the role of literacy was in the lives of BIPOC students. 

In addition to One Pen One Page, Amanda is also involved with organizations like She’s The First, 826National, and the Amplifier Foundation. Her platform to reach students is massive, and has only grown in the last few months. All of the educational organizations that Amanda is involved in are essential in promoting literacy and education, and reaching underserved communities. Her activism is so very important, and is changing the world.

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