Amanda Gorman left Anderson Cooper absolutely speechless in her post-Inauguration interview

Anderson Cooper has interviewed hundreds of people, from top celebrities to heads of state to people on the street. He is fairly unflappable when it comes to chatting with a guest, which is what makes his reaction while interviewing inaugural poet Amanda Gorman all the more delightful.

Gorman stole the show at President Biden's Inauguration with a powerful performance of her original poem, "The Hill We Climb." People were blown away by both her words and her poise in delivering them, especially considering the fact that she's only 22 years old. But it's one thing to be able to write and recite well, and another to be able to impress in an off-the-cuff conversation—and Gorman proved in her interview on Anderson Cooper 360 that she can do both at a level most of us can only dream of.

In the interview, Gorman explained how she dove into research to prepare her poem to fit the occasion, and then how that work was disrupted by the attack on the Capitol.

"I'm not going to say that that completely derailed the poem, because I was not surprised at what had happened," she said. "I had seen the signs and the symptoms for a while, and I was not trying to turn a blind eye to that. But what it did is it energized me even more, to believe that much more firmly in a message of hope and unity and healing. I felt like that was the type of poem that I needed to write and it was the type of poem that the country and the world needed to hear."

After explaining how she used tweets and articles and messages about the Capitol insurrection to hone parts of her poem, she shared thoughts on reclaiming the power of words.


"To me, words matter. And I think that's kind of what made this inauguration that much more sentimental and special. We've seen over the past few years the ways in which the power of words has been violated and misappropriated, and what I wanted to do was to kind of reclaim poetry as that site in which we can repurify, resanctify not only the Capitol building that we saw violated, but the power of words, and to invest that in kind of the highest office of the land."

Cooper and Gorman discussed the last few lines of her poem before delving into Gorman's speech impediment. Cooper shared that he himself had a form of dyslexia and a slight stutter as a child, and Gorman shared that even up until a few years ago she would drop entire letter sounds from her speech. In fact, she said, writing and reciting poetry served as a kind of speech pathology for her. The "R" sound gave her particular trouble even into college, so she would practice singing along with the song "Aaron Burr, Sir" from Hamilton because it contained so many "R" words. (She also included allusions to Hamilton lines in her inaugural poem, which Ham fans quickly noted.)

But the part of the interview that got Cooper tongue-tied was when Gorman shared the mantra she says before every performance. Watch:

Gorman said she closes her eyes and says, "I am the daughter of Black writers. We are descended from freedom fighters who broke their chains and changed the world. They call me."

Cooper had to take a moment before saying, "Um, wow...just...you're awesome. I'm so transfixed." So funny to see one of television's most familiar faces being so awestruck. He's not the only one, though. She is truly mesmerizing.

"Your mom must be so proud of you," Cooper added. Gorman mentioned in her poem that she was raised by a single mother, and considering how proud the whole country is of this young woman, her mom is undoubtedly bursting with pride. Gorman shared how "a village" of support has helped lift her up to where she is today, and that her mom was right there with her filming her as she did this interview.

Anderson Cooper was all of us here. Amazed by Amanda Gorman's talent. Stunned by her grace and wisdom at such a young age. Moved by her personal story. Awed by how she captured this significant moment in our nation's history so beautifully.

Pure brilliance. We will definitely be keeping our eye on Ms. Gorman as we work to build the brighter future she envisioned for our nation.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Photo by Taylor Wilcox on Unsplash

It's hard to believe that summer is almost over and the back-to-school season is right around the corner. The school year is approaching fast and since many kids have been home pandemic schooling for the past year and a half the return of "normal" is likely to bring kids and parents alike some anxiety about what the return to school will look like.

We have all been living through an extended trauma and this past year has impacted us in ways that we may not even realize—and we may not come to realize the scale in which we have been altered for years to come. Just as we have been learning to cope and navigate the world during a global pandemic, so have our children. They've been expected to perform at pre-pandemic levels for quite some time; this doesn't negate their very real reality of pandemic life.

Kids have had to readjust socially, and in many children this has caused a loss of social skills and increase in social anxiety. With school quickly approaching and the push for schools to open back to full capacity, it's completely normal to have heightened anxiety around the traditional opening of schools. How we handle this anxiety and prepare our children for their own challenges can make all the difference between having a rocky start to an already stressful new school year.


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