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Leading Through Black Excellence by APSU: Amanda Gorman

Austin Peay State University - APSUClarksville, TN – Amanda Gorman is a vision for the future. When given the daunting task, at 22, to write a poem that would inspire hope and unity toward a collective purpose, while the country is still facing a deadly pandemic, political violence, and partisan division, Amanda eloquently crafted a poem that spoke to the possibility of hope, yet honored the reality in which we stand.

Amanda Gorman
Amanda Gorman

She embraced diversity and individuality, yet respected the stain that has been left on our hearts, but most importantly she gave us perspective.

And for that, she deserves to be acknowledged.

“When day comes, we step out of the shade, aflame and unafraid.
The new dawn blooms as we free it.
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it.
If only we’re brave enough to be it.”

Amanda Gorman is the youngest inaugural poet in United States history. She joins a small group of poets who have been recruited to help mark a presidential inauguration. Like many of our students and, to be honest, many of the faculty and staff, she has overcome substantial obstacles in her life.

She has a track record of overcoming adversity. Amanda was raised by a single mother and she has a speech impediment, yet she became a phenomenal orator. In 2016, Amanda founded a nonprofit called One Pen One Page, whose mission is to empower youth to use their voices and help eliminate inequality through education. Amanda Gorman exudes the “Gov” spirit and belief in excellence as evidenced by her many accolades and overall disposition.

Our students deserve to see a leader who can persevere in spite of adversity. Ms. Gorman represents the “educere” meaning of education which is to “lead out” and prepare a new generation for changes that are to come. This can be accomplished by asking questions, thinking for yourself, and creating your own path.

We salute you Ms. Gorman and Thank you for your tenacity, drive, and service to the community and world.

– APSU African American Employee Council


Leading Through Black Excellence is a new Black History Month series, presented by the Austin Peay State University African American Employee Council. Throughout February, we will highlight examples of “Leading Through Black Excellence,” both on and off our campus. Individuals and organizations were nominated, and we are pleased to share their incredible stories through this new venture. For more information, please visit our website. www.apsu.edu/aaec.


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