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'Girl Meets World' got canceled. This letter is worth reading even if you didn't watch.

"I am above all humbled to know I belong to such an extraordinary generation."

'Girl Meets World' got canceled. This letter is worth reading even if you didn't watch.

This week, the Disney Channel announced that after three seasons, "Girl Meets World" would be coming to an end.

The "Boy Meets World" spin-off lasted 70 episodes, following the story of Riley Matthews (played by Rowan Blanchard), the daughter of Cory and Topanga Matthews (played by Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel, respectively), who were the stars of "Boy Meets World," which ran from 1993 to 2000 on ABC.

Blanchard, 15, has made her share of news for what she's done offscreen — and for good reason.

In January 2016, Blanchard shared a powerful essay about how she "quit apologizing for existing" at Rookie magazine. In the summer of 2015, she shared a post on the importance of intersectional feminism on her Tumblr page. She's also spoken out on gender equality at the United Nations and eschewed social expectations when she came out publicly as queer.


Blanchard speaks during Glamour's "A Brighter Future: A Global Conversation on Girls' Education" in October 2016 in Washington, D.C.  Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Glamour.

Blanchard's emotional farewell to "Girl Meets World" is so powerful partly because of the commitment she's made to change the world at such a young age.

On her Twitter account, Blanchard shared her thoughts on the show's cancellation:

What's most notable, however, is her message to teens and young people everywhere:

"Teens determine and influence all of this in general, and I hope and think our show reflects you for how you are: brave, opinionated, audacious, devoted, dynamic, loving, nurturing, and powerful. ... I will continue to fight to not be talked down to by the shows, books, and movies, that are aimed towards us. I am sorry that this channel is just not able to understand that (don’t think for a moment this happened because of you.) But I know what we are capable of. I know very well what we did. I am above all humbled to know I belong to such an extraordinary generation. What an honor."

In other words, she implored her fans: You're never too young, never too small to help create a better world.

Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images.

Blanchard and fellow actress Yara Shahidi of ABC's "Black-ish" recently guest-edited Teen Vogue's December issue about activism and representation.

"My need to be an activist came very much from a need to understand history, and how things that happened before have influenced what’s happening now," Blanchard explained.

"To me, activism is a need to know, a need to explain, and a need to help."

Shahidi and Blanchard. Photo by Rachel Murray/Getty Images for Vanity Fair.

While it's sad to hear about the cancellation of "Girl Meets World," we have that show to thank for bringing the powerhouse that is Rowan Blanchard into so many of our lives.

"Girl Meets World" tackled some tough topics during its run, with episodes focusing on things like cultural appropriation, autism, and Asperger's. That's pretty cool, and definitely something we need more of in TV.

Luckily for us, we haven't seen anywhere near the last of her. She's set to appear in Ava DuVernay's upcoming film "A Wrinkle in Time" alongside Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Chris Pine, and others. This positive role model for young people is here to stay, and we couldn't be happier.

Blanchard attends the 2015 Creative Arts Emmy Awards. Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images.

True

When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

Photo by Tod Perry

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