Starting off "Hero Month" with a bang, Emma Gower talks about her personal hero and inspiration to all, Amanda Gorman.
Upon being asked to write an article about my hero, I realised that there was nobody who at first sprung to mind. There are a lot of people that I look up to, and a lot of people who inspire me, but would I call any of them my hero? That then posed the question of what makes a hero, and after some consideration, I decided that the concept of a hero is different for everybody. My hero won’t always be the same person - they will change as I myself change, so long as they reflect the qualities that I admire – and they will also change as the world changes, too. With this in mind, I decided that my current hero is Amanda Gorman.
Amanda Gorman is a 23-year-old African American poet, with her work focused on issues close to her (and indeed my) heart, including feminism, racism and marginalisation. She has an auditory processing disorder, meaning she is hypersensitive to sound, but she used this as a strength in order to help write her poetry. She became the first person to be named National Youth Poet Laureate, and has founded a non-profit organisation called One Pen One Page, a youth writing and leadership programme. She also aims to run for president in 2036.
I consider Amanda Gorman my hero for multiple reasons. Firstly, as a lover of reading and writing myself, I admire not only her style of writing, but also the way in which she delivers her poetry. I first saw her do this at President Biden’s inauguration, and it would be an understatement to say that I was blown away by her eloquence. As a young female writer, I strive to achieve greatness through my writing as Amanda has, and she showed me that it is indeed possible.
Performing at Biden’s inauguration is another reason why she is my hero – up until more recently than anyone would care to admit, a black woman would never have been able to stand near the president, let alone perform at his inauguration and dream of one day being in that position herself. This sentiment is much like a line from her poem ‘The Hill We Climb’; ‘the successors of a country and a time where a skinny Black girl […] can dream of becoming president, only to find herself reciting for one’. Seeing Amanda achieving her dream is hugely inspirational to me, because it goes to show that even though equality is not something that should have to be achieved, it can be, through people like her.
I will always take one lesson away from Amanda and her life, and that is that you should never let anything prevent you from achieving your dreams, especially your own limitations. As mentioned, she has an auditory processing disorder, which could have hindered not only her progress in writing but her entire life, had she not found the courage to embrace it. In doing so, Amanda enabled herself to improve and continue with her writing, which ultimately led her to succeeding in all she had dreamed of. Not only this, but in a white, male-dominated society, a black woman did not let her identity get in the way of pursuing her goals, but instead used it to achieve them. She remained courageous, and it is this courage that I will take with me into my own life to help me fight my own personal battles and achieve my dreams, because, in Amanda’s own words, ‘there is always light, if only we are brave enough to see it. If only we are brave enough to be it’.
Emma Gower (She/Her)