The brand new Amanda Gorman mural—located on the side of a townhouse in an alley off 17th Street between Q and Corcoran Street in Washington, DC—is a sunbeam. The entire side of the brick building is painted yellow. The Amanda Gorman mural is located in Dupont Circle.
The artist, Kaliq Crosby, chose to paint the 22-year-old poet as we remember her on Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at the inauguration of President Joseph Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
Gorman was selected by President Biden to read her original poem “The Hill We Climb” for his Inauguration on January 20, 2021, making her the youngest poet to have served in this role.Poets.org
Against a grey sky and resisting a frigid wind, this young poet stood tall and resolute at the podium as she recited “The Hill We Climb.” She shone for us when we needed sunshine in our grey lives. We felt her humanity warm our hearts as her words electrified our minds (and souls).
Only a poet would instinctively know the importance of imagery. So her yellow outfit became a metaphor for the sun rising on Inauguration Day. And emblazoned against the sky was her red pillbox—like the dawn breaking.
“When day comes we ask ourselves where can we find light in the never-ending shade?”Amanda Gorman
The light was a black woman standing so bravely at the podium—the youngest Inauguration poet in the history of our nation—to remind us why we would survive all the trials and tribulations.
“We the successors of a country and a time
where a skinny Black girl
descended from slaves and raised by a single mother
can dream of becoming president
only to find herself reciting for one.”
As a nation, we took a collective breath of air, gasped and said YES. We still believe that we can “find the light.”
“Gorman, the country’s first National Youth Poet Laureate, went viral after presenting her powerful and uplifting poem.”The Washingtonian
It was a Golden Moment. And Ms. Gorman dressed all in yellow, shining before us as we watched on our TVs and cell phones and iPads called out to wherever we were – East, West, North or South – to come together as these UNITED States.
“We will rise from the gold-limbed hills of the west.
We will rise from the windswept northeast,
where our forefathers first realized revolution.
We will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the midwestern states.
We will rise from the sunbaked south.”
As the mother of two adult children, I felt my pride RISE to witness such a resourceful young woman triumph. I can only imagine how many little girls will want to grow up and be the next Amanda Gorman.
Poetry is not dead. It lives through people like this young woman who had a speech impediment but learned to make her voice sing so LOUD so we could hear in our deafness.
“For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it.
If only we’re brave enough to be it.”Amanada Gorman
So I delight in this Amanda Gorman mural—painted less than two months after her extraordinary recitation at the Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol.
Her watchful eyes look down on the streets of Washington DC—our nation’s capital—and remind us “the new dawn blooms.”
Gorman published The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country in March 2021.