A Florida school has banned its elementary students from reading Amanda Gorman’s poem, “The Hills We Climb,” which she read at Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration.
The poem was one of several works banned at the Miami-Dade County school after a single challenge by a parent who complained that they referenced critical race theory, “indirect hate messages,” gender ideology and indoctrination, according to the Miami Herald.
Gorman made a statement Tuesday on Twitter, where she wrote: “I’m gutted. 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.”
“And let’s be clear: most of the forbidden works are by authors who have struggled for generations to get on bookshelves,” she continued. “The majority of these censored works are by queer and non-white voices. 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.”
“Robbing children of the chance to find their voices in literature is a violation of their right to
free thought and free speech,” Gorman wrote. “Together, this is a hill we won’t just climb, but a hill we will conquer.”
Gorman mentioned her publisher Penguin Random House, which recently joined with PEN America to bring a lawsuit against Florida’s Escambia County School District and School Board. The publisher and PEN America are asking the federal court to return banned books to library shelves.
Along with Gorman’s poem, the parent brought challenges to “The ABCs of Black History,” “Cuban Kids,” “Countries in the News Cuba” and “Love to Langston.”
Gorman also tweeted a photo of the complaint form where the parent incorrectly attributed her poem to Oprah Winfrey.