Unsurprisingly, Amanda Gorman has been trending for her spectacular inaugural poem. When I heard she was from Los Angeles, I was curious about her ties to this city. And, with a little research, I’ve found a few lesser-known facts about her that have an LA spin.
Amanda Gorman is an American poet and activist from Los Angeles. She’s also the first nation’s first Youth Poet Laureate. And these are the five facts you need to know about her.
1. Amanda Gorman is from Los Angeles, and her mother works in South Los Angeles. News publications haven’t shied away from identifying Amanda’s mother, Joan Wicks, who works for Alliance Jack H. Skirball Middle School, a public charter school that is operated by Alliance College-Ready Public Schools. Publications listed this school in Watts, but it’s not. It’s at the edge of Green Meadows South neighborhood in South Los Angeles, about 10 blocks from the Magic Johnson Park in Willowbrook.
But alas, that’s only something we locals argue about.
Anyway, her mom, interestingly enough, is a 6th Grade Common Core English teacher, according to Skirball Middle School.
2. Amanda Gorman grew up in the Westchester neighborhood, which is South of Culver City. Westchester is home to Loyola Marymount University, and is north of the Los Angeles International Airport.
3. Gorman is also the first Youth Laureate in Los Angeles and the Nation. But what does that actually mean? Well, for starters, being a “Youth Laureate” is actually a new thing.
According to the National Youth Laureate, “In 2014, Urban Word partnered with six of the top youth literary arts organizations in Los Angeles to launch the first-ever LA Youth Poet Laureate program, and announced the Inaugural Los Angeles Youth Poet Laureate.” Amanda Gorman won that competition at 16 years old. Three years later, in 2017, Urban Word named Amanda Gorman the first National Youth Laureate. That’s pretty serious, y’all.
4. Gorman Attended New Roads, a socioeconomically diverse private school in Santa Monica. And in case you’re wondering if you should send your kids there, tuition starts at $34,000. And that’s not including the fees.
This school was founded by the same person who founded Crossroads, the prestigious private school, you know Crossroads, where LeBron James’ son formerly attended. Gorman graduated from New Roads in 2016.
5. Gorman doesn’t use the word activist lightly. On her Instagram, she promotes saving the coast and protecting the ocean. In High School, she actively promoted events around #BringBackOurGirls. And she hosted a school-wide event to bring awareness to human trafficking. And we haven’t even dug into her poems.