In another first for Miami’s Cuban-American community, Richard Blanco will serve as the official poet at President Obama’s swearing-in ceremony Jan. 21.
Mr. Blanco, 44, will make history: as the youngest ever inaugural poet, the first Hispanic and the first gay person to recite a poem at the swearing-in ceremony. He follows some of the nation’s most revered poets, from the first inaugural poet, Robert Frost, at President Kennedy’s inauguration in 1961 to Maya Angelou during President Bill Clinton’s first inauguration in 1993, Miller Williams in 1997 and Elizabeth Alexander in 2009.
Mr. Blanco, who studied creative writing at Florida International University, was born to Cuban parents in Spain and moved to South Florida as a baby. A civil engineer by training, Mr. Blanco now lives in Maine with his partner. He has a passion for exploring what it means to be an American.
“Richard’s writing will be wonderfully fitting for an inaugural that will celebrate the strength of the American people and our nation’s great diversity,” President Obama said.
On Jan. 21, the Adrienne Arsht Center for Performing Arts in downtown Miami will open its doors for a community inauguration celebration. The event, which coincides with Martin Luther King Day and a National Day of Service, starts at 11 a.m. For reservations, go to www.arshtcenter.org or call 305-949-6722. The live simulcast from the nation’s capital on the big screen is free and open to the community.
If you plan to attend, you can bring a donation of school supplies, toiletries, or new undergarments for children to the Arsht community event. As part of this National Day of Service the donations will be given to the Chapman Partnership, which runs a Homeless Assistance Center in downtown Miami.
An inauguration is a time to celebrate what it means to be American in our democratic republic, regardless of political affiliation. How better to celebrate the nation’s diversity and America’s strength than in Miami. It’s poetic.