Let there be Light
Reflections on Amanda Gorman
From insurrection to inauguration, America has made it to the other side. What a relief and collective exhale to have an uneventful transfer of power. No matter what side of politics you fall on, you have to admit the day of the inauguration was a star studded affair. It was all quite fascinating from Lady Gaga’s moving rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” to Jennifer Lopez’s out of this world performance of “This Land is Your Land” to Garth Brook’s soulful “Amazing Grace.”
Two days after the historic event, I’m still thinking about the amazing Amanda Gorman and her words of light that lifted me. I’m prone to live under a rock, so this was my first time coming across her and her work. After listening to her poetry, I went on a google hunt and found that she has told a story on the Moth and delivered a Tedx talk amongst all her other accomplishments.
Moth GrandSlam: “Roar”
Tedx Talk: “Using your voice is a political choice”
So much class. So poised. I have a new role model for myself and my girls. I learned that she has a speech impediment and an auditory processing disorder. Her Moth story entails the time when she tried out for the role of Nala for “The Lion King” Broadway show. She expresses how disappointed she was when she found out she was rejected yet she is happy because she still achieved her dream of being in the spotlight in her own way.
In her Tedx talk, she talks about how she was able to write yet faced challenges when speaking. She overcame her obstacle for a meaningful cause that goes beyond just herself. I love the mantra she says to herself before going on stage: “I am the daughter of black writers who descended through freedom fighters, who broke their chains and changed the world. They call me. I call them.” The way she speaks is live poetry in motion. As Amanda reveals, her mantra answers two questions:
- Whose shoulder do you stand on?
- What do you stand for?
I’m thinking of making my own mantra using these two questions to strengthen myself.
When I heard that Amanda plans to run for President in 2036, I did some quick mental math to see how old I’ll be. I hope to be alive to witness that auspicious day when she spreads more of her light and she inspires us to spread ours.