President Barack Obama will be inaugurated for the second time as the president of the United States on Monday, Jan. 21.
In a public statement released on Wednesday, Jan. 9 by the Presidential Inaugural Committee, President Obama revealed poet Richard Blanco (44), Cuban and openly gay, was selected as one of the five poets to read on inauguration day.
President Obama commented in the statement:
"It is an honor to have Richard Blanco in our second inauguration,"
"His contributions to the fields of poetry and art have paved the way for future generations of writers. Richard's work is well-suited for an opening that will celebrate the strength and diversity of our great country."
Known for his worked related to his Cuban-Spanish roots, as well as his voice for the gay and lesbian community through poetry, Blanco is the first poet from the GLBTQ community selected to read at a presidential inauguration.
Since taking office, President Barack Obama has been a catalyst for change in the gay and lesbian community, repealing the “Don’t’ Ask, Don’t Tell” act, pushing for equal marriage rights, and speaking out against bullying suffered by those in the GLBTQ community.
By selecting Richard Blanco to read an original poem at his inauguration which takes place on Monday, Jan. 21, he continues his work in favor of advancing the civil rights of the gay and lesbian people in the United States.
An excerpt from Blanco’s biography explains a bit about the gay, Cuban-American poet:
“Richard Blanco was made in Cuba, assembled in Spain, and imported to the United States—meaning his mother, seven months pregnant, and the rest of the family arrived as exiles from Cuba to Madrid where he was born.”
“Only forty-five days later, the family emigrated once more and settled in New York City, then eventually in Miami where he was raised and educated.”
Sources: Washington Post, USA Today, TIME, Richard Blanco Website
Will you be watching as poet Richard Blanco reads his original poem at the 2013 presidential inauguration? What do you think of President Barack Obama’s choice for poets this year?