Poet Amanda Gorman said Tuesday she was “gutted” by the push to ban her Presidential inauguration poem “The Hill We Climb” at a Miami-Dade elementary school.
“I’m gutted,” the 25-year-old and first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate said in a statement posted on several social media outlets, adding that her poem was banned “because of one parent’s complaint.”
According to reports, that one Florida parent, Daily Salinas, who claimed that “The Hill We Climb” could “indoctrinate students,” mixed up Gorman with Oprah Winfrey when she filed her complaint.
Meanwhile, the school in question says it did not outright ban the book of Gorman’s poem. The school says it moved the book to a section for middle schoolers, though it insists any student can still read it.
“I wrote ‘The Hill We Climb’ so that all young people could see themselves in a historical moment. Ever since, I’ve received countless letters and videos from children inspired by ‘The Hill We Climb’ to write their own poems,” Gorman wrote in her statement. “Robbing children of the chance to find their voices in literature is a violation of their right to free thought and free speech.”
Gorman further goes on to note, “Book bans aren’t new” but have been on the rise recently according to the American Library Association (ALA).
In fact, a report released in March by the ALA found that attempts to ban or restrict books reached a record high of more than 1,200 in 2022.
In March of last year, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R)—who was set to announce his 2024 candidacy for President Wednesday evening—signed the Florida’s Parental Rights in Education—a.k.a. “Don’t Say Gay”—Law, and at least 16 other have states looked to copy its language.
The Florida law initially specified children in third grade and younger, but recently the rule has been expanded by the State Board of Education to also cover grades 4 through 12.
DeSantis, however, has called reports of mass book banning a “hoax,” saying in a statement released this past March that the allegations reveal “some are attempting to use our schools for indoctrination.”
Yet according to PEN America, at least 175 books have been banned in Florida this year.
Meanwhile, Miami-Dade County’s mayor has invited Gorman to visit for a reading.
“Your poem inspired our youth to become active participants in their government and to help shape the future. We want you to come to Miami-Dade to do a reading of your poem. If you’re in, we will coordinate,” Daniella Levine Cava tweeted on Wednesday.
PHOTO: Gorman at Biden’s Inauguration