“We will not march back to what was, but move to what shall be, a country that is bruised but whole, benevolent but bold, fierce and free. We will not be turned around or interrupted by intimidation because we know our inaction and inertia will become the future.”

— Amanda Gorman, the nation’s first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate, delivers a message of America’s resilience and strength through her poem The Hill We Climb, at President Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony, today, Jan. 20, 2021. Gorman told NPR that she studied the works of Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., and Winston Churchill for ways “rhetoric has been used for good.” In The Hill We Climb, Gorman reiterated the themes of unity, grief, healing, hope, and American ideals triumphing over the painful history of the American experience that Biden spoke about in his inaugural address. The 22-year-old overcame her fear of public speaking, due to a speech impediment, to perform her poetry at the Library of Congress, Boston’s Symphony Hall, and across the country.

Watch Amanda Gorman perform The Hill We Climb below.