A school in Florida has banned poetry read at Joe Biden’s inauguration after just one complaint.
The anonymous parent said Amanda Gorman’s poem The Hill We Climb “was not educational” and contained “messages of hate indirectly (sic),” adding that it could “cause confusion and indoctrinate students.”
Gorman, 25, said on Instagram she was “gutted” that poetry was banned from elementary school in Miami-Dade County.
He said, “Let’s be clear, most of the banned works are by authors who have struggled for generations to make it onto shelves. Most of these censored works are by queer, non-white voices.”
Gorman said she wrote the poem “so all the young people could see each other in a historic moment” and that she received “countless letters and videos” from children inspired to write their own poem.
“Depriving children of the opportunity to find their own voice in literature is a violation of their right to freedom of thought and speech,” he added.
The ban on the poem comes at a time when Gov. Ron DeSantis and a number of other politicians are moving to make Florida a more restrictive and less tolerant state.
The Human Rights Campaign joined the NAACP, the League of United Latin American Citizens, the Florida Immigrant Coalition and Equality Florida on Tuesday in issuing travel or relocation advisories for the Sunshine State.
The Hill We Climb – Amanda Gorman
When day comes, we wonder where can we find light in this endless shadow?
The loss we bear, a sea we must wade.
We braved the belly of the beast.
We have learned that stillness is not always peace,
and the norms and notions of what is “right” is not always justice.
Yet, the dawn is ours before we know it.
Somehow we do.
Somehow we have stood and witnessed a nation that is not destroyed,
but simply unfinished.
We, the successors of a country and an era where a skinny black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother can dream of becoming president, only to find herself acting for one.
Read the full poem here
“Openly hostile” laws and policies.
The LGBT+ advocacy group said it was not calling for a boycott of travel to Florida, but wanted to highlight new laws passed by the Republican-controlled state legislature that are hostile to its community, limit abortion access and allow Floridians to carry concealed weapons without a permit.
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The NAACP, the oldest civil rights organization in the United States, said last weekend that tourists should understand that the state “devalues and marginalizes the contributions and challenges faced by African Americans and other communities of color.”
He also said recent laws and policies advocated by DeSantis and others are “overtly hostile” towards these groups and LGBTQ+ people.
In recent months, Florida’s leaders have:
• Supported measures that ban state colleges from having programs on diversity, equality and inclusion, as well as critical race theory
• Passed the Stop WOKE Act, which limits discussions based on race in schools and businesses
• Prohibited local governments from giving money to organizations that issue ID cards to people illegally in the United States
• Invalid driving licenses held by irregular migrants
• Hospitals that accept Medicaid have required a citizenship question to be included on forms, something critics say is meant to prevent illegal migrants from seeking medical care
• Tried to limit discussion of LGBTQ topics in schools and to remove books with gay characters from libraries
Equality Florida said, “Taken together, Florida’s list of laws and policies targeted at fundamental rights and freedoms pose a serious risk to the health and safety of those traveling to the state.”
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“A Shadow of Fear”
Lydia Medrano, Southeast vice president of the League of Latin American Citizens United, said Governor DeSantis’s actions had “created a shadow of fear within communities across the state.”
Florida is one of the most popular states in the US for tourism: More than 137.5 million visited the state last year, and the industry supports 1.6 million jobs.
Democratic mayors distance themselves from the state governor
Perhaps with that in mind, some of the state’s Democratic mayors were quick to distance themselves from the state’s intolerant image.
St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch tweeted: “Everyone is always welcome and will be treated with dignity and respect.”
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor tweeted, “Diversity and inclusion are central to what makes Tampa one of America’s greatest and friendliest cities. That will never change no matter what happens in Tallahassee.”
Mr. DeSantis is expected to announce Wednesday that he will run for the Republican presidential nomination.