Meghan Markle Urges Girls to Become ‘Justice’ Activists at U.N. Summit

Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex leaves the University of Johannesburg, South Africa, after meeting with academics and students to discuss the challenges faced by young women in accessing higher education on October 01, 2019. (Photo by Michele Spatari / AFP) (Photo by MICHELE SPATARI/AFP via Getty Images)

Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, gave the virtual keynote address to the U.N.’s 2020 Girl Up Leadership Summit this week, urging young girls to become “justice” activists in areas such as racial equity, gender, and climate change.

“All of you, at a younger age than any modern comparison, are setting the tone for an equitable humanity. Not figuratively, literally,” Markle said, continuing:

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 wellbeing, on civic engagement, on public service, on so much more. That’s the work you’re already out there doing.

“Girl Up members are organizing Black Lives Matter protests around the world,” she reinforced, “You’re creating films to encourage your peers to become activist leaders. You are reforming the criminal justice system … you’re leading coalitions to end gun violence … you are also demanding to own the conversation.”

Markle delivered her speech following a panel titled “Women in Leadership,” that also featured 2016 Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, former Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards, and activist Dolores Huerta.

Former First Lady Michelle Obama also appeared virtually at the Girl Up summit.

“The hardest part—and it was the hardest part for me—is to chase your convictions with action,” Markle said, adding that she, her husband Harry, and their son, Archie, “will continue cheering you on … as you all continue marching, advocating, and leading the way forward.”


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