Long before she burst into the public spotlight delivering her inauguration poem, Amanda Gorman got a standing ovation from fellow parishioners of St. Brigid Church in Los Angeles for reciting a poem she wrote about the parish.

And on Jan. 20, at the inauguration ceremony of President Joe Biden, parishioners watching this young woman on their TV screens — addressing political leaders and the nation at large about courageously rebuilding the country — applauded her all the more.

And even though they were thrilled for Gorman, parishioners of the historically Black church didn’t see her performance as a “solo act,” because Gorman has always been at the parish with her twin sister, Gabrielle, and her mom. Hawkins felt that sense of family when cameras followed Gorman joining her mother when she finished her delivery.

St. Brigid’s pastor, Josephite Father Kenneth Keke, also didn’t just see Gorman in that moment but felt she represented the entire parish in South Central Los Angeles — which is predominantly African American but now also has a growing number of Latinos, Filipinos and white parishioners too.

When she graduated from high school to attend Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Gorman received a scholarship donation from the parish.

“Parishioners are very much proud of her,” the priest, from Nigeria, told Catholic News Service Jan. 22, adding that he personally knew she would go far. “She is a very, very intelligent young lady. The first time I saw her, I knew that one day she was going to be very important.”

Full story at Angelus News; story originally from Catholic News Service.

Catholic News Agency: Amanda Gorman, inaugural poet for Biden, has history of abortion advocacy 

Poet Amanda Gorman made a splash with her performance at President Joe Biden’s inauguration. But less than two years earlier, she performed a strongly pro-abortion poem that championed abortion access as necessary to secure equality, to escape from poverty, and to achieve the freedom to determine family size. 

Her poem charged that those who advocate abortion bans aim to control women and sustain the “patriarchy.”

Her performance, carried by Now This News in May 2019, took place when Gorman was a 21-year-old undergraduate at Harvard University. She argued against proposed abortion restrictions in Alabama, Georgia, and elsewhere.

“Fight for Roe v. Wade in the United States,” she said, “because this change can’t wait.”

“We are never alone when we fight fire with feminism. We will not be masquerade to the tale of a handmaid. We will not let Roe v. Wade slowly fade,” she said.

Gorman’s 2019 performance depicted legal abortion as liberating.

“Through forcing them into motherhood before they’re ready, these bans steadily sustain the patriarchy but also chain families in poverty. And maintain economic inequality,” she said. “Pregnancy is a private and personal decision and should not require the permission of any politician.”

Even if abortion is made a crime, she said, “women have and will always seek their own reproductive destinies.”

“All these penalties do is subdue women’s freedom to get healthy, safe services when they most need them,” she continued.

Gorman depicted abortion as the foundation of equality.

“If the sexes and all people are to be equal, abortion has to be actually accessible and not just technically legal,” she said. This “isn’t only about women and girls, this fight is about fundamental civil rights. Women are a big part of it but at the heart of it are freedom over how fast our families grow.”

Full story at Catholic News Agency.