The Florida mom whose complaints about reading material prompted Amanda Gorman's acclaimed poem "The Hill We Climb" and other books to be restricted at a local elementary school admits she only read parts of the material she objected to.
Daily Salinas fueled a firestorm last week after the Bob Graham Educational Center, a public school in Miami-Dade County, agreed to restrict access to "The Hill We Climb" − which Gorman recited at President Joe Biden's inauguration − and three other books a school panel decided were better suited for middle-school students.
Salinas told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency she complained about Gorman's poem and the books because they did not support the curriculum. Gorman, 25, was the first person named the National Youth Poet Laureate.
“I’m not an expert,” Salinas said. “I’m not a reader. I’m not a book person. I’m a mom involved in my children’s education.”
Gorman rejected the school's defense that her poem was restricted, not banned, and that it remained available for middle-school children.
"For those claiming my book wasn’t banned, just 'aged-up,' 'The Hill We Climb' is an inaugural poem for the world," Gorman posted on Twitter. "Relocating it to older age group library shelves by its nature bars younger and equally deserving generations from accessing said moment in history."
∙ Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava has invited Gorman to perform a reading of her poem in the county.
∙ Students at New Roads elementary, the California school Gorman once attended, read their own poetry at rally in her name. "When our students see this book, they are reminded that they too are authors, thinkers, speakers, social justice advocates, champions for those who have been marginalized, and compassionate young people who want to listen and to be heard," the school said in an Instagram post.
Salinas denies link to Proud Boys
The advocacy group Miami Against Fascism posted photos of Salinas at rallies with members of Proud Boys and Moms for Liberty, a conservative group that has protested school curriculums that mention LGBTQ rights, critical race theory and other issues. Salinas told JTA that she was not a member of either group, saying she had merely attended rallies where their members were present.
Salinas apologizes for antisemitic post
Salinas expressed regrets for sharing a Facebook post in March about “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” a notoriously antisemitic hoax purporting to describe a Jewish plan for global domination. The original post includes a line about "socialist rule, then communism, then despotism.” Salinas said she saw the word communism and did not read the rest before sharing.
“I want to apologize to the Jewish community,” Salinas told JTA. “I’m not what the post says. I love the Jewish community.”
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Amanda Gorman defends poem after school restricts access. Updates