Celebrity

The 5 Most Inspiring Takeaways From Meghan's Girl Up Speech

The UN's Girl Up Summit was streamed by around 40,000 attendees from 172 different countries.

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In 2010 the UN Foundation set up the Girl Up initiative. The scheme was designed to empower, support, and help young leaders who are doing amazing things in their communities to achieve lasting change. The scheme has worked with 65,000 girls in nearly 120 countries. They held their leadership summit over July 13-15 with some seriously exciting guest speakers, including Meghan Markle. It’s estimated that 40,000 attendees from 172 countries streamed this year's event and in her speech, Meghan highlighted that, even though the Summit took place virtually, there’s so much power in coming together in the way that they did.

Meghan was joined by Michelle Obama, Hilary Clinton, Nadia Murad, and other inspiring public figures to give speeches to the young leaders who tuned into the 2020 Girl Up Summit. Touching on the Black Lives Matter demonstrations that have gone on around the world, as well as gun reforms efforts and mental health initiatives, Meghan congratulated the young leaders who are already making massive moves in their respective communities.

In her speech Meghan also spoke about how challenging it can be to bring about change. Speaking about her own experiences, she said that the hardest thing she has found is "chasing [her] convictions with action," but went on to explain how encouraged she is to see young Girl Up members doing exactly that.

Below I have spotlighted these powerful moments along with other quotes and takeaways from Meghan's speech.

"The status quo is easy to excuse and hard to break. But it will pull tightest right before snapping."

Meghan explained that lawmakers, world leaders, and other people in positions of power "won't listen until they have to." When they are pushed, they may well pull back harder than ever, but that's exactly the reason to keep going.

"Keep challenging, keep pushing, make them a little uncomfortable."

Meghan encouraged the young listeners to push world leaders outside of their comfort zones, even if they resist. "Because it's only in that discomfort that we actually create the conditions to reimagine our standards, our policies, our leadership. To move towards real representation and meaningful influence over the structures of decision making and power."

"Our online world has the power to affirm and support as much as it does to harm."

Everyone that attended the Summit was around the ages of 16-22. This means that most of them will have grown up around social media and the benefits and difficulties that can bring. Meghan wanted to highlight the importance of using these platforms to lift each other up and asked Girl Up members to "drown out the noise" of negativity both on and offline with their "voices of truth and hope."

Towards the end of the speech, Meghan mentioned online spaces again, commenting on how interesting it was that this year's Summit was taking place virtually, meaning each attendee was tuning in "from their own community." She highlighted the importance of community, saying they are the places where values and beliefs can be "manifested and moulded into something tangible."

"Compassion doesn’t mean we shouldn’t feel outrage ... But I challenge you to broaden that feeling."

During her speech, Meghan focused on the importance of compassion, referencing a quote from the Dalai Lama in which he said that "compassion is the radicalism of our time." Speaking directly to her listeners, she said "I know all of you will use your voices courageously, and I also know that all of you will use your voices compassionately." Meghan pointed out that feeling compassion doesn't mean you can't feel outrage about injustice, but she asked the Girl Up members to "broaden that feeling" to allow the two to co-exist.

"I will be cheering you on. So will my husband, & so will Archie"

Meghan's speech highlighted that it will take a collective effort to achieve real change. "Despite what some might say, this reimagining, it’s not a zero-sum game where one side wins and one side loses. It’s not at all. It is mutually beneficial and better for everyone," she said. "Because of that, that path to get us there will take all of us. It will take girls and women; it will take men and boys; it will take those that are Black and those that are white collectively tackling the inequities and structural problems that we know exist."

Signing off her speech, she came back to this idea, saying : “I will be cheering you on, so will my husband and so will Archie."