Watching Amanda Gorman bravely take the stage today at the Presidential Inauguration, is a moment many of us will long remember. Under a clear blue sky, where just two weeks ago we watched violence and destruction reign, this young woman recited her magnificent poem “The Hill We Climb”.
Ms. Gorman did what no one else has been able to accomplish. She gave us hope. She reminded us what it feels like to live with courage and to acknowledge the gaping wounds of our shared history. Most important, she called on each of us to move forward together in peace.
“But while democracy can be periodically delayed, it can never be permanently defeated,” she said in a strong and clear voice. “In this truth, in this faith we trust for while we have our eyes on the future, history has its eyes on us. This is the era of just redemption. We feared it at its inception. We did not feel prepared to be the heirs of such a terrifying hour, but within it, we found the power to author a new chapter, to offer hope and laughter to ourselves so while once we asked, how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe? Now we assert, how could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?”
As leaders in our organizations, I believe we have both the influence and the accountability to work together to answer Ms. Gorman’s call. It’s our opportunity to build organizations and communities that respect and value diversity and to take the actions necessary to sustain our planet. It’s our responsibility to give our children reason to listen to Ms. Gorman’s poem today and believe there is hope.
My best to each of you. Please continue to stay well.
President and CEO, GRI