Amanda Gorman ‘Gutted’ After Florida School Bans Biden Inauguration Poem

Amanda Gorman ‘Gutted’ After Florida School Bans Biden Inauguration Poem – Amanda Gorman, the renowned American poet who gained worldwide fame for her recitation of “The Hill We Climb” at Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration, has made a commitment to fight book bans in Florida. This determination arose following the removal of her poem from the curriculum of an educational institution in Miami-Dade county, where it was initially intended to be read by elementary school children.

Expressing disappointment, 25-year-old Gorman expressed feeling deeply saddened upon discovering that a solitary parental complaint resulted in the banning of her inaugural poem at the Bob Graham Education Center in Miami Lakes. This complaint was part of a larger challenge against five books, including titles like “The ABCs of Black History” and various books about Cuba.

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The parent who lodged the complaint mistakenly attributed authorship of “The Hill We Climb” to Oprah Winfrey and objected to the poem on the grounds that it lacked educational value and purportedly conveyed indirect messages of hatred. Gorman hit back in a lengthy social media post. “So they ban my book from young readers, confuse me with Oprah, fail to specify what parts of my poetry they object to, refuse to read any reviews, and offer no alternatives.”

“Unnecessary book bans like these are on the rise, and we must fight back,” she said. Encouraging her supporters, the poet extended an invitation to contribute to the writer’s organization PEN America. She highlighted that both PEN America and her publisher, Penguin Random House, had collaborated to file a lawsuit against book limitations imposed in Florida. “Robbing children of the chance to find their voices in literature is a violation of their right to free thought and free speech,” Gorman said.

Following the implementation of a series of laws signed by the Republican governor Ron DeSantis, who is anticipated to embark on a presidential campaign, book bans have seen a significant increase in Florida. The latest legislation, enacted earlier this month, mandates schools to promptly remove books upon receiving a complaint from a single parent. As reported by PEN America, a total of 565 books were banned in Florida schools during the 2021-22 school year.

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The Miami Herald, the first to report on the removal of Gorman’s poem, identified the parent who filed the complaint as Daily Salinas, a parent of two students attending Bob Graham. In an interview with the newspaper, Salinas clarified that she was not advocating for the elimination or censorship of any books. However, she expressed her desire for school materials to be suitable and age-appropriate for children.

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