2019 Gerda Haas Honoree: Richard Blanco, Presidential Inaugural Poet
Richard Blanco is an historic presidential inaugural poet, public speaker, teacher and memoirist. When selected by President Obama to be the fifth presidential inaugural poet, Richard was the youngest, first Latino, immigrant, and gay person to serve in such a role. In 2015, the Academy of American Poets chose Blanco to serve as its first Education Ambassador. In that role, Richard is passionately dedicated to inspiring students through the close reading and writing of poems, and equally committed to empowering educators who wish to enhance their poetry and language arts curriculum with a focus on diversity and inclusion. Richard customizes his workshops to meet schools’ needs ranging from one-day visits to a multi-day Poet-In-Residence Program. Richard is an award-winning author and poet.
His memoir, The Prince of Los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood (2014), is a poignant, hilarious, and inspiring exploration of his coming-of-age as the child of Cuban immigrants and his attempts to understand his place in America while grappling with his burgeoning artistic and sexual identities. In his latest collection of poems, How to Love a Country (Beacon Press, 2019), Blanco explores immigration, gun violence, racism, LGBTQ issues, and more, in accessible and emotive verses.
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On May 30, 1921, rumors about an encounter between a black teenage boy and a white teenage girl began to circulate throughout the city of Tulsa. The boy was arrested and an investigation ensued. After an incendiary report in the Tulsa Tribune, African Americans who had confronted a white mob retreated to the Greenwood District, a wealthy and affluent black business community in Tulsa.
“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” – Elie Wiesel
If you’re looking for resources or assignments to give students to help learn more about World Cultural Diversity Day and how cultures help shape who we are, you’ve come to the right place!
“To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.” – Nelson Mandela
In the month of April, we observed Genocide Awareness Month. The month of May happens to be Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and it just so happens that Phuc Tran, a Vietnamese-American Mainer just published his memoir, Sigh, Gone: A Misfit’s Memoir of Great Books, Punk Rock, and the Fight to Fit In