Florida school bans Amanda Gorman's inauguration poem after parent complains of ‘hate messages’

The parent attributed ‘The Hill We Climb’ to Oprah Winfrey

Bob Graham Education Center in Miami Lakes has restricted access to "The Hill We Climb," the poem read by Amanda Gorman at President Joe Biden's inauguration.

That book and four others were removed from elementary schoolers' reach after a parent complained about them, saying are “not educational and have indirectly hate messages,” reported the Miami Herald after research by the Florida Freedom to Read Project. (Check out the parent's full complaint below, in which he attributes the poem to Oprah Winfrey.)

After reviewing Gorman's poem as well as the other four books in the complaint, the school decided they were "more appropriate" for middle schoolers. The school pointed out in a tweet that The ABCs of Black History, Cuban Kids and Love to Langston are available to older children.

"I wrote 'The Hill We Climb' so that all young people could see themselves in a historical moment," wrote Gorman, now 25, in an open letter responding to the complaint and removal. "Robbing children of the chance to find their voices in literature is a violation of their right to free thought and free speech."

"Let’s be clear," she continued. "Most of the forbidden works are by authors who have struggled for generations to get on bookshelves. The majority of these censored works are by queer and non-white voices."


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Jessica Bryce Young

Jessica Bryce Young has been working with Orlando Weekly since 2003, serving as copy editor, dining editor and arts editor before becoming editor in chief in 2016.
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