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Amanda Gorman, the talented young poet who gave a nationally celebrated recital of her poem, “The Hill We Climb,” for President Biden’s 2021 inauguration, is not feeling the love from at least one Miami-Dade elementary school.
A parent complained that her poem contained “hate messages,” and the elementary school obliged by restricting access to the poem from younger students.
First reported by the Miami Herald, documents released by the Florida Freedom to Read Project show the K-8 Bob Graham Education Center in Miami Lakes limited access to the poem after just one parent complained that it was “not educational” and contained indirect hate messages.
Taking to twitter on Tuesday, 25-year-old Amanda Gorman said she was “gutted” by the decision.
“Because of one parent’s complaint, my inaugural poem, The Hill We Climb, has been banned from an elementary school in Miami-Dade County, Florida,” Gorman posted.
“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 poem. Robbing children of the chance to find their voices in literature is a violation of their right to free thought and free speech,” she added.
Amanda Gorman falls prey to white supremacist attacks
The decision to ban the book by Amanda Gorman, which the parent falsely attributed to Oprah Winfrey, comes amid a flurry of white supremacist assaults on access to history and literature that centers Black American experiences.
The parent also complained about The ABCs of Black History, Cuban Kids, Countries in the News: Cuba, and Love to Langston, citing “indoctrination” and “CRT,” Politico reported.
Florida State Sen. Shevrin Jones, a Black and gay lawmaker who has been outspoken about Gov. Ron DeSantis’ attempts to limit Black history and political representation, denounced the decision on Twitter.
“The Amanda Gorman poem should not have been banned from @MDCPS. The one parent believes that this will cause confusion and “indoctrinate students”, specifically on pages 12-13,” state Sen. Jones tweeted on Wednesday.
The NAACP has also recently released a travel advisory warning Black Americans to avoid Florida because “your life is not valued.”
For their part, the school denied that Gorman’s poem had been banned, claiming the literature remained available to older students “in the middle school section of the media center.”
Yet the decision to move the poem after just one parental complaint highlights how school districts around the country are giving more weight to the voices of some parents over others.
“One parent could get my poetry banned from classrooms. And yet one country can’t ban assault rifles from massacring them,” Amanda Gorman tweeted.
To fight back, Gorman is asking supporters to donate to Pen America, an organization working to reverse book bans across the country.
“Together this is a hill we won’t just climb, but a hill we will conquer,” Gorman said.