began working on i-Promise Joanna as an official Poet Laureate Project last year after hearing news reports about 10-year-old Joanna Ramos, who was killed in a schoolyard fight.
"I hope I can do something to stop it, to curb bullying in all its ugly forms," Herrera said. "This was about Joanna, but it was also about me growing up as a little brown kid not knowing English, feeling ostracized and ashamed, slapped and picked on. When I saw Joanna, I saw myself. I said, 'Juanito, that's it.' "
from Redlands Daily Facts: State poet laureate Juan Felipe Herrera fights bullying