Amanda Gorman, the first National Youth Poet Laureate of the United States, recited the following original piece, “Believer’s Hymn for the Republic,” at the 35th Annual Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., which was co-sponsored by the SGI-USA at the World Peace Ikeda Auditorium on Jan. 20, 2020, in Santa Monica, Calif.
12 score and three years ago, to be exact,
Our founders dared to declare
The world’s most revolutionary act:
A pact sworn for liberty and equality.
Out of many, was born one people;
A teeming nation made of nations,
At its very foundation a dream
For life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Today, we gather so that our Founders’ words do
not go diminished.
But also so that the work does not go unfinished.
For it’s not just in a declaration of independence
But the everyday declaration of its descendants
That make a people equal.
It is our right and our role
To remember these words scratched on a scroll,
So we may live them and heal our nation whole.
We roll up our sleeves, we believe in the dream,
And these American stories, in the glory of
For it is from our struggle that comes our nation’s
For the lengths that we fight for what is right
Is the fullest measure of our country’s might.
And while we cannot shake or cast aside our past,
Every day we write the future. Together we sign it,
Together we declare it, we share it,
For this truth marches on inside each of us:
Americans know one another by our love of liberty.
When in fact, we are liberated by our love for one another.
We understand that a house divided cannot stand.
So let us make a pact to be the country that acts
As compassionate as we are courageous.
In the declaration’s pages, we write a new order for the ages,
Where out of many, we are one,
Bright as a sun, and bold as an eagle,
A nation of all people, by all people,
For all people.
Let this fourth of July
Move forth our cry to redeem the dream.
As we remember those words forever ignited
That we the people have so long heard and recited.
That we are right to stand
But are revolutionary when we stand united.