LOS ANGELES — A new poem from former National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman tackles the recent mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, the latest in a series of strong reactions from the young Catholic-raised activist to gun violence.
Entitled “Hymn for the Hurting”, the five-stanza offering was published in the New York Times on Friday evening in the paper’s opinion section.
“Everything hurts, Our hearts shadowed and strange, Minds made muddied and mute,” its opening lines read.
“We carry tragedy, terrifying and true. And yet none of it is new.”
The work is one of two poems released by Gorman in the wake of the Uvalda tragedy, in which 18-year-old Salvador Ramos killed 19 students and two teachers on Tuesday at Robb Elementary School after taking the life of his own grandmother.
Just hours after the news broke, Gorman responded with a series of tweets, including a short, untitled stanza on school shootings—27 of which have occurred already this year.
“Schools scared to death. The truth is, one education under desks,” she wrote.
“The truth is, one nation under guns.”
A follow-up tweet to the poem, describing legislative inaction on gun control as “inhumanity”, has garnered more than 800,000 reactions as of Saturday morning.
Ten days prior to the Uvalde shooting, another massacre occurred in Buffalo, New York, where 10 African Americans were gunned down by an 18-year-old White Supremacist in a grocery store.
Gorman also spoke out then, just days after news broke that she will be writing the foreword for a new printing of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech—perhaps the best-known work in world history dealing with anti-Black racism.
In the wake of the two shootings, Gorman also promoted a fundraiser from Everytown for Gun Safety, a nonprofit gun control advocacy group founded in New York in 2013. The effort raised more than half a million dollars within a day of the Uvalde massacre, and nearly doubled that by Thursday morning.
The total currently stands at more than $970,000 toward a million-dollar goal, and more than 30,000 donors have contributed.
Nate Tinner-Williams is co-founder and editor of Black Catholic Messenger, a seminarian with the Josephites, and a ThM student with the Institute for Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University of Louisiana (XULA).