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22-Year-Old LA Woman, Amanda Gorman, To Become Youngest Inauguration Day Poet

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) - A 22-year-old woman will become the youngest inaugural poet when she performs "The Hill We Climb" at President-elect Joe Biden's swearing-in ceremony Wednesday.

Amanda Gorman's reading will be followed by a rendition of the national anthem by Lady Gaga and a musical performance by Jennifer Lopez.

Gorman, who was born and raised in Los Angeles, turned to writing from an early age in an attempt to cope with her speech impediment. At age 14, she joined WriteGirl, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization that helps teen girls discover the power of their voice through creative writing.

Throughout her high school years at New Roads School in Santa Monica, Gorman attended WriteGirl's monthly creative writing workshops and was matched with writing mentors for one-on-one mentoring.

"WriteGirl has been pivotal in my life," Gorman said. "It's been thanks to their support that I've been able to chase my dreams as a writer."

WriteGirl Executive Director Keren Taylor said she had "no doubt Amanda's messages of hope, unity, and justice will help us all heal and move forward."

Gorman was selected in 2014 as the first Los Angeles youth poet laureate and in 2017 as the first national youth poet laureate.

She graduated in May from Harvard University with a degree in sociology.

Gorman has two books forthcoming, including her first children's book, "Change Sings," set to be published in September.

Gorman will become the sixth poet to perform at a presidential inauguration, continuing a tradition that began in 1961 when Robert Frost recited "The Gift Outright" at John F. Kennedy's inauguration. The previous youngest was Richard Blanco, who was 44 when he read "One Today" at Barack Obama's second inauguration in 2013.

All the inaugural poets have performed at the swearings-in of Democratic presidents.

The inauguration of Biden as president and Kamala Harris as vice president is scheduled to begin at 7:30 a.m. PST. The ceremony will feature vigorous health and safety protocols intended to protect public health, including face-coverings and social distancing.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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