WATCH | Meghan Markle makes impassioned speech at first event since stepping down from royal firm

  • Meghan Markle was one of many powerful women to attend and speak at the virtual 2020 Girl Up Leadership Summit this week.
  • The United Nations event took place on Tuesday and also saw appearances by Michelle Obama and Yara Shahidi.
  • The duchess addressed issues such as gender equity, racial injustice and youth empowerment.

Meghan Markle gave an impassioned and empowering speech sure to inspire young women everywhere when she made an appearance at the virtual 2020 Girl Up Leadership Summit on Tuesday.

Just last week it was announced that her very first engagement since stepping down as a senior member of the royal family would be the summit, alongside other big names such as Michelle Obama, Yara Shahidi, COO of Facebook Sheryl Sandberg, and human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Nadia Murad.

During her brief appearance, the duchess spoke unscripted, reports Harper's Bazaar, on gender equity, racial injustice, youth empowerment, and encourage the youth to challenge lawmakers and those in power.

"I want to share something with you. It's that those in the halls and corridors and places of power—from lawmakers to 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," she said.

"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. 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."

The 38-year-old went on to talk about the youth using their various platforms – online and offline – to build one another up.

"We are not meant to be breaking each other down," she said, "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. Your voices are those of truth. And hope. And your voices can and should be much louder."

She concluded her address on a more personal note saying: "Sometimes it's not obvious what to do. Often, it's fear that paralyses us and stops us from being brave and being bold. But don't underestimate that you have some of those answers within. 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 what's unfair. The hardest part—and it was the hardest part for me—is to chase your convictions with action."

She added: "I will be cheering you on, so will my husband, so will Archie, as you all continue marching, advocating, and leading the way forward."


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