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Meghan Markle Gave an Empowering Speech at The 2020 Girl Up Leadership Summit

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The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, inspired more than 40,000 young people in 172 countries, with her keynote speech at the virtual 2020 Girl Up Leadership Summit on July 14.

Since severing her relationship with the royal palace, Markle has taken on a role of activism and empowerment, advocating for human rights. Markle recently gave a virtual address to the graduating class of her high school, in which she began her mission to motivate the youth to work toward a more equitable future.

In her Girl Up Leadership Summit speech she addressed issues of gender inequality and racial injustice, specifically in the digital age in which young people are the most mobilized. 

Speaking via webcam from her Los Angeles home, Markle addressed “young women around the world who aren’t just poised to change the world; but have already begun changing the world,” explaining that young girls have already began their generation’s work toward a better future.  

Markle explained, “all of you, at a younger age than any modern comparison, are setting the tone for an equitable humanity. Not figuratively, literally. This is a humanity that desperately needs you. To push it, to push us, forcefully in a more inclusive, more just, and more empathetic direction. And to not only frame the debate, but be in charge of the debate—on racial justice, gender, climate change, mental health and wellbeing, on civic engagement, on public service, on so much more. That’s the work you’re already out there doing.”

She continued, “Girl Up members are organizing Black Lives Matter protests around the world, you are creating films to encourage your peers to become activist leaders, you are reforming the criminal justice system, you are telling your school boards we need more mental health resources for all ages, you are leading coalitions to end gun violence. You are standing up and demanding to be heard, yes, but you’re also demanding to own the conversation.”

Markle continued, encouraging young people to continue to put pressure on those in power despite the resistance, stating, “the status quo is easy to excuse and it’s hard to break. But it will pull tightest right before snapping.”

She continued, “keep challenging, keep pushing, make them a little uncomfortable. Because it’s only in that discomfort that we actually create the conditions to reimagine our standards, our policies, and our leadership; to move towards real representation and meaningful influence over the structures of decision-making and power.”

Markle also encouraged young people to continue to utilize their tech literacy to push their agenda of equality. She specifically encouraged the youth to focus on positivity online, stating, “we are not meant to be breaking each other down; we are meant to be building each other up. So use your voice both on-and-offline to do just that—build each other up, support each other. There will always be negative voices and sometimes those voices can appear to be outsized, and sometimes they can appear to be painfully loud. You can and will use your own voices to drown out the noise. Because that’s what it is—just noise. But your voices are those of truth. And hope. And your voices can and should be much louder.”

These words were particularly powerful coming from Markle who has faced extreme negativity and adversity online for her position within the royal family due to her race.

Markle approached the end of her speech, encouraging young people to be persistent and confident in their initiatives.

“Believing in true equality is not enough—it’s going to take more than belief, we have to work for it every day; even when it’s hard, even when it makes others feel uneasy. We have to speak up for ourselves and we have to speak out for others who struggle to be heard.”

She concluded her speech, stating, “I will be cheering you on, so will my husband, so will Archie, as you all continue marching, advocating, and leading the way forward.”

Photo Source: Marie Claire

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