‘The Hill We Climb’ said to have ‘hate messages’
By Kristina Dixon | Across Black America
A Miami-Dade elementary school has effectively banned Amanda Gorman’s presidential inauguration poem, “The Hill We Climb,” after a parent complained that it contained indirect “hate messages.”
Gorman, 25, who gained national prominence after she recited her poem at President Joe Biden’s 2021 inauguration, took to Twitter on May 23 to denounce the school’s actions.
“I’m gutted,” the poet wrote in a lengthy Twitter statement, before saying that censored books are often authored by people “who have struggled for generations to get on bookshelves,” most of whom are “queer and non-White.”
“I wrote ‘The Hill We Climb’ so that all young people could see themselves in a historical moment,” Gorman wrote. “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.”
Rep. Maxwell Frost (D-Fla.) tweeted in support of Gorman, quoting from “The Hill We Climb.”
“But while democracy can be periodically delayed, it can never be permanently defeated,” Frost quoted, before writing, “We will fight and we will prevail.”
According to documents released by the Florida Freedom to Read Project and first reported by The Miami Herald, the book was restricted at Bob Graham Education Center in Miami Lakes after one parent complained in March that it “is not educational and has indirectly [sic] hate messages.” The same parent complained about four other books: “The ABCs of Black History,” “Cuban Kids,” “Countries in the News: Cuba,” and “Love to Langston,” citing “indoctrination” and “CRT.” The complaint also misidentified Oprah Winfrey as the author of “The Hill We Climb.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed into law a slate of new educational laws, including a requirement for schools to pull challenged books within five days of a complaint while officials determine if the material should be permanently banned.
In a tweet after publication, the Miami-Dade school district stated that the book wasn’t banned and remains “available in the media center as part of the middle grades collection.”