When Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified, with a national audience, during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing for Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination that he sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers, Eleanor Wikstrom wrote a poem. With this poem, "Too Good," and two other poems, she applied to the Oakland Youth Poet Laureate program and became Oakland's 2019 Vice Youth Poet Laureate.
Eleanor has been performing all over town and in October performed "Too Good" at the YWCA Silicon Valley's Inspire Luncheon. There, she shared the stage with Dolores Huerta and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford herself. (You can watch Eleanor's performance here.)
Dr. Ford was receiving The YWCA Empowerment Award and said, “It’s funny, I was inspired by Anita Hill when I was deciding whether to testify but it didn’t occur to me at the time that I would be inspiring anyone else,” Ford said. “Eleanor, I couldn’t ask for a greater gift than to know I inspired your poem.”
Eleanor is an Oakland native who has been writing prose and poetry since she could form sentences. Currently a senior at Skyline High School, Eleanor is involved in several clubs and a co-founder of the organization Oakland Students for Public Education, which empowers OUSD students to advocate for public education reform at the Capitol. She is also the cross country / track team captain and holds multiple all-time records for the city of Oakland in the distance events. An avid writer, Eleanor has won numerous awards for prose and poetry, including Youth Activist Award from the California Teachers’ Association, and was named a 2020 YoungArts Finalist in Writing / Spoken Word. This past May she partnered with composer Dominick DiOrio and the Oakland Gay Men's Chorus to premier a new choral piece using the text of one of her poems, which has been selected for publication by the Hal Leonard Music Corporation. As the current Oakland Youth Vice Poet Laureate, Eleanor is excited to spend her senior year harnessing the evocative power of language to promote art and activism in her community and beyond.
If you would like to book Eleanor, the current Oakland Youth Poet Laureate, Samuel Getachew, or any of the other 2019 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate Finalists, please do so here: http://www.oaklandlibrary.org/yplbooking