Amanda Gorman’s poem for Joe Biden’s inauguration banned by Miami Lakes school
Image via AP.

Amanda Gorman AP
'Robbing children of the chance to find their voices in literature is a violation of their right to free thought and free speech.'

poem written for President Joe Biden’s inauguration has been placed on a restricted list at a South Florida elementary school after one parent’s complaint.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, poet Amanda Gorman vowed to fight back. Her poem, “The Hill We Climb” was challenged by the parent of two students at Bob Graham Education Center in Miami Lakes, along with several books.

“I’m gutted,” she wrote. “Robbing children of the chance to find their voices in literature is a violation of their right to free thought and free speech.”

Gorman, who at 17 became the country’s National Youth Poet Laureate, said she wrote the poem “The Hill We Climb,” so “all young people could see themselves in a historical moment,” and that she’s received countless letters and videos from children who were inspired to write their own poems.

She became an international sensation at Biden’s inauguration, where she was the youngest poet to read at the ceremony since Robert Frost was invited to John F. Kennedy’s in 1961.

In “The Hill We Climb,” Gorman references everything from Biblical scripture to “Hamilton,” and at times echoes the oratory of Kennedy and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. With urgency and assertion she begins by asking, “Where can we find light/In this never-ending shade?” and used her own poetry and life story as an answer.

She said she planned to share a message of hope for Biden’s inauguration without ignoring “the evidence of discord and division.” She had completed a little more than half of the poem before Jan. 6 and the siege of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump.

The poem and books are still available in the media center for middle school-aged children, Ana Rhodes, a spokesperson for the Miami-Dade School District, said in a statement.

While book bans are not new, they are happening much more frequently, especially in Florida — where Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has championed policies that allow the censorship of books some have deemed inappropriate for children in schools, causing national uproar.

DeSantis, who entered the 2024 presidential race Wednesday, has leaned heavily into cultural divides on race, sexual orientation and gender as he gains support from conservative voters who decide Republican primary elections.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre condemned the decision to ban Gorman’s poem, saying Biden and his administration stands with her.

“The President was proud to have Ms. Gorman, the youngest inaugural poet, speak at his inauguration,” she said.

“Banning books is censorship, period,” she added. “It limits American freedom — Americans’ freedom — and we should all stand against that type of act.”

Yecenia Martinez, principal of the K-8 school, which is part of the Miami-Dade public school system, did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment about the poem’s ban. The school is named after Bob Graham, a former Democratic Governor and U.S. Senator from Florida.

Daily Salinas, the parent who objected to the poem and books, told the Miami Herald she’s not “for eliminating or censoring any books.” Salinas said she wants materials to be appropriate. It was not immediately clear what she objected to in Gorman’s poem.

After her complaint, a materials review committee made up of three teachers, a library media specialist, a guidance counselor and the principal, determined one of the books in question was balanced and age appropriate, and would remain available for all students, the newspaper reported.

The other four were deemed “better suited” or “more appropriate” for middle school students. The books were to remain in the middle school section of the media center, the review concluded.

“And let’s be clear: most of the forbidden works are by authors who have struggled for generations to get on the bookshelves,” Gorman’s post said. “The majority of these censored works are by queer and non-white voices.”


Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Associated Press


  • A Zito

    May 25, 2023 at 6:56 pm

    So DeSantis banned this poem !!!
    GET REAL !

    • Richard Bruce

      May 25, 2023 at 7:28 pm

      The Gov had nothing to do with this. It was a decision made by one school.

      • Peggy

        May 25, 2023 at 9:25 pm

        School boards aren’t government?

        All that sh*t coming out of Tallahassee rolls downhill.

      • Dont Say FLA

        May 26, 2023 at 8:26 am

        Rhonda’s connection is “Stupid is as stupid does.”

  • Ocean Joe

    May 25, 2023 at 6:59 pm

    It’s a surprisingly good piece of work for a kid her age, but if it doesn’t fit with your “anti-woke narrative” I guess nobody should read it or hear it.

  • Dont Say FLA

    May 25, 2023 at 7:13 pm

    Considering that Rhonda had the cajones to ban an assault poem, one can infer there must not be a National Poem Association. Our thoughts and prayers worked and our school children are finally safe … from poems. Praise the Lord and Hallelujah! Glory Be Rhonda’s Name!

  • kwikroos

    May 25, 2023 at 8:09 pm

    (JTA) – Months before a Miami-area mother persuaded a local school to restrict access to an Amanda Gorman poem, she was posting antisemitic memes on her Facebook page.

    Now, Daily Salinas is apologizing for one of those things — and unrepentant about the other.

    “I want to apologize to the Jewish community,” Salinas told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency on Wednesday. She was saying sorry for a Facebook post she shared in March offering a summary of “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” a notorious antisemitic forgery written more than a century ago in Russia.

    “I’m not what the post says,” Salinas said. “I love the Jewish community.”

    Is Florida really a Shit Hole?

  • Julia Watson

    May 25, 2023 at 8:35 pm

    I’d like one of these Right Wingers to go ahead and find me just ONE example in history of people who banned books, thoughts, and ideas who weren’t the Bad Guys.

    I have a feeling I’ll be waiting for a long time though.

  • PeterH

    May 25, 2023 at 11:58 pm

    Republicans continuously blame Democrats for “stuff” ….. that they themselves are guilty.

    This is a perfect Republican double-speak pertaining to “cancel culture!”

  • PeterH

    May 26, 2023 at 7:05 am

    The parent behind Amanda Gorman’s poem ban in a Florida school appears to have attended Proud Boys rallies and has previously posted antisemitic memes online.

    The parent, first identified by the Miami Herald as Daily Salinas, made headlines this week after reports emerged of her effort to ban a series of books at the elementary Bob Graham education center in Miami Lakes where her two children attend.

    • Dont Say FLA

      May 26, 2023 at 8:50 am

      The Guardian reports this parent having attended a Moms for Liberty protest. Seems as if she must be domestic terrorist. Yay for having apparent domestic terrorists ban a poem in Florida public schools. Good job, Rhonda.

  • Bwj

    May 26, 2023 at 9:33 am

    I doubt whether or not Ms. Salinas actually read the poem. She doesn’t understand it, and so she fears it. I don’t care if she doesn’t want her child to read it, but she has no right to tell my children that they cannot.

    • PeterTx52

      May 26, 2023 at 4:12 pm

      apparently you are unaware that it wasn’t banned, but instead was declared to be inappropriate for elementary age school children. your more than welcome to go to your public library and check it out or purchase a copy at your local bookstore

  • PeterTx52

    May 26, 2023 at 4:11 pm

    The poem/book was not banned. It was determined to be inappropriate for elementary school age children. It was moved the elementary school range to the middle school rang in the library.
    stop spreading misinformation

  • PeterTx52

    May 26, 2023 at 4:13 pm

    The number of inane comments posted here are outstanding

Comments are closed.


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