The poet Amanda Gorman used the power of words to illustrate the harsh reality of living in the U.S. amid the onslaught of mass shootings: “The truth is, one nation under guns.”
After the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday that left at least 19 children and two teachers dead, Gorman, the first National Youth Poet Laureate, took to social media to call for an end to gun violence.
Shortly after the shooting, the 24-year-old shared a poem on Twitter that she had written in light of the news.
Schools scared to death.
The truth is, one education under desks,
Stooped low from bullets;
That plunge when we ask
Where our children
“What might we be if only we tried,” she wrote in another tweet that has almost 50,000 likes. “What might we become if only we’d listen.”
The tragedy in Texas is part of a pattern of mass shootings that have occurred this month, including one in a Tops supermarket in Buffalo, New York, that killed 10 and injured three, and another at a Korean-owned hair salon in Dallas that left three people wounded.
The spate of shootings has also renewed the call for tighter federal gun regulations. While Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., pledged Wednesday to work toward passing stricter laws, he said it would be difficult due to Republicans possibly blocking new regulations. Following the shooting in Texas, President Joe Biden said in a speech Tuesday evening that he was “sick and tired” of the mass shootings and urged Congress to enact stricter gun control legislation.
On Twitter, Gorman also shared how Everytown for Gun Safety, one of the largest gun prevention organizations in the U.S., had raised more than $500,000 in online donations. After the shooting in Texas, the organization started encouraging people to sign up and donate toward gun violence prevention efforts.
Gorman recited her poem, “The Hill We Climb” at President Joe Biden’s inauguration last year. During the ceremony, she spoke about the nation’s progress toward a better, less divisive future.
“So we lift our gazes not to what stands between us, but what stands before us,” she said during the January 2021 ceremony. “We close the divide because we know to put our future first, we must first put our differences aside. We lay down our arms so we can reach out our arms to one another, we seek harm to none and harmony for all.”