Amanda Gorman condemns U.S. inaction on gun violence in powerful poem after Uvalde school shooting

Amanda Gorman, the U.S. poet and activist, took to social media yesterday to share a poignant poem she penned in response to the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Highlighting the harsh reality of living in the United States of America amid the seemingly relentless onslaught of mass shootings, Gorman wrote: "Schools scared to death. The truth is, one education under desks, Stooped low from bullets; That plunge when we ask Where our children Shall live & how & if." The 24-year-old also condemned the shooting and inaction around gun safety in a series of tweets accompanying the poem.

"It takes a monster to kill children. But to watch monsters kill children again and again and do nothing isn't just insanity—it's inhumanity," she wrote. "The truth is, one nation under guns... What might we be if only we tried. What might we become if only we'd listen." These words are reminiscent of the last line of Gorman's poem "The Hill We Climb," which she recited at President Joe Biden's inauguration last year: "For there is always light, if only we're brave enough to see it. If only we're brave enough to be it."

As reported by NBC News, during the ceremony, Gorman—the first National Youth Poet Laureate—also 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 that shot her to international fame. "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."

The shooting at Uvalde, which left at least 19 children and two teachers dead, is the latest in a series of mass shootings that have occurred this month. The racist massacre at a Tops supermarket in Buffalo, New York, killed 10 and injured three while another at a Korean-owned hair salon in Dallas left three people wounded. Unsurprisingly, the series of shootings has renewed calls for tighter federal gun regulations. However, while pledging to work toward passing stricter laws, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. said Wednesday that it would be difficult due to Republicans possibly blocking new regulations. Meanwhile, 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.

Former President Barack Obama also spoke out against the inaction, writing: "Across the country, parents are putting their children to bed, reading stories, singing lullabies—and in the back of their minds, they're worried about what might happen tomorrow after they drop their kids off at school, or take them to a grocery store or any other public space. Michelle and I grieve with the families in Uvalde, who are experiencing pain no one should have to bear. We're also angry for them. Nearly ten years after Sandy Hook—and ten days after Buffalo—our country is paralyzed, not by fear, but by a gun lobby and a political party that have shown no willingness to act in any way that might help prevent these tragedies."

"It’s long past time for action, any kind of action. And it's another tragedy—a quieter but no less tragic one—for families to wait another day," Obama added. "May God bless the memory of the victims, and in the words of Scripture, heal the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds."

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