The Duchess of Sussex attended the virtual Girl Up Leadership Summit yesterday, and she gave a keynote speech. Something I didn’t know: this summit is part of the UN Foundation. Which… is fascinating for a lot of different reasons. Meghan had to give up her pre-royal charity work when she married Harry, and I remember the royal reporters throwing tantrums about the very idea that a British princess would deign to work on a United Nations program. So this too is why I’m so happy that Meghan and Harry are living in America now: they’re free to wear shorts and go swimming and give speeches to United Nations Foundation-sponsored summits for girls, all without needing the approval of 20 men in grey, William’s incandescent rage fist and two corgis.
First, the optics. Meghan is glowing. She radiates serenity. She’s so happy to be back in LA, even if America is the epicenter of the virus at the moment. Meghan’s Mirror tentatively ID’d Meghan’s top as a piece from Adam Lippes, a “Pintucked silk crepe de chine.” And it’s kind of boxy and tent-like, perfect for *cough* someone pregnant but not showing enough to need full-on maternity clothes. I’m just saying. Everyone’s talking about her hair too – it looks great, I could never get my hair that straight.
Here’s the video:
Meghan was talking directly to girls, girls brimming with optimism, girls who believe that they can be the change they want to see in the world. Some quotes:
“I want to share something with you,” she said. “It’s that those in the halls and corridors and places of power — from lawmakers and world leaders to executives — all of those people, they depend on you more than you will ever depend on them. And here’s the thing: They know this. They know that 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. To not only frame the debate but be in charge of the debate — on racial justice, gender, climate change, mental health and well-being, on civic engagement, on public service, on so much more. That’s the work you’re already out there doing.”
During Meghan’s speech, she also spoke about how difficult it can be to do the right thing. “Look, sometimes it’s not obvious what to do. Often, it’s fear that paralyzes us and stops us from being brave and being bold. But don’t underestimate that you have some of the answers. Don’t underestimate your ability to push through the fear. You have, rooted in your convictions, the ability to craft a world that you know is just and kind. Your gut will tell you what’s right and what’s wrong; what’s fair and unfair. The hardest part—and it was the hardest part for me—is to chase your convictions with action.”
In June, several of the biggest Black Lives Matter protests were organized and led by teenage girls. Social media can be awful a lot of times, but it’s inspiring to see the youths figure out how to use social media to organize, agitate and protest, and that’s just what girls have been doing for a while now. Many have compared it to the Children’s March during the Civil Rights movement. It’s incredibly inspiring, and it’s inspiring to see Meghan talk directly to those girls.
Screencaps from GirlUp video.