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Meera Dasgupta: Leading the Charge for Change

Dec/27/2021 / by Swarnendu Biswas

That Meera Dasgupta has earned the distinction of being the 2020 National Youth Poet Laureate should make most NRIs proud.

She us the fourth, the youngest person to win the position at the age of 16, and the first Asian-American to earn the title.

About the 2020 National Youth Poet Laureate

Dasgupta, born in Queens, New York, is a student at Stuyvesant High School. She is involved in several causes, including gender equality and climate action. She has a passion for women’s political empowerment, and despite being just 17 now, she has embarked on various projects to empower young women and enhance civic engagement among other students her age.

Meera, who also won the Scholastic Arts and Writing award, is a Van Lier fellow, and a Federal Hall fellow. She was selected for the 2020 National Youth Poet Laureate title from a group of youth poet laureates representing more than forty states and fifty cities of the US.

A Committed Activist

The young girl is the recipient of several fellowships and was selected as the 2019 Climate Speaks winner. Climate Speaks is a youth arts program about the climate crisis.

Participating at the event gave her the opportunity to make her art intersect with activism.

“I feel like there is an intersectionality to poetry. And for me a lot of my poetry intersects with my advocacy work and my activism, which is why for me it does interact with my public speaking,” she said in an interview with SEEMA a few months ago.

Dasgupta says her experiences in activism have hugely contributed her winning the position she now holds.

Birth of a Poet

Dasgupta is a member of the National Youth Poet Laureate Program, which is engaged in identifying and celebrating teenager poets in the U.S. who use their artistic skills to bring about civic engagement and social justice. Being a member of the program helped her to improve her poetic skills.

Dasgupta, who has already featured in The New York Times, has performed at Carnegie Hall and the Teen Vogue Summit, and The New York Historical Society. She had taken acting and theater courses and has been part of her school choir for 10 years.

By her own admission, she began playing acoustic guitar when she was in the third grade and would periodically grab sheet music and pen down song lyrics at that age. It could be assumed that her poetic journey began with writing song lyrics.

However, Dasgupta says she discovered a passion for the spoken word while she was on the Stuyvesant Speech Team. It was while interpreting the words of others that she realized she wanted to create and present something of her own.

Though she has passed on the crown to Alexandra Huynh, the 2021 National Youth Poet Laureate, Dasgupta is now a published author, holds workshops, and gives interviews on different platforms.

She wants to do major in political science to help her drive ensuring social justice, her abiding interest in recent years.


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