Meghan Markle's feminist wedding quietly displayed a ton of black girl magic.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's glorious wedding was one for the history books.

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In a display of fairy tale magic, the duke and duchess of Sussex said their vows in front of millions of viewers around the world. It. Was. Beautiful.  


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Roughly 18 million people in the U.K. tuned into the event, and it's safe to say Americans were pretty enamored with the stunning affair as well.  

The road up to the wedding was no easy feat. Fighting unethical press, sexism, and racism, Harry and Markle held strong together. Thankfully, they made it to their happy ending.

Aside from the dashing uniforms, stunning gowns, and oh-so-adorable kiddos, the wedding was an incredible display of revolutionary love. Here are five ways the new couple made their love as radical as can be:    

1. They are one of the first publicly recognized interracial couples in the British monarchy.

Harry and Markle are not the first interracial couple in British monarchy history. Due to the monarchy's fickleness with showing blackness in paintings (such as black features, hair textures, etc.), it's unclear who actually holds that title. But, it's likely to go back to Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz of the 18th century, a mixed-race woman who married King George III. With about seven generations between Charlotte and Markle, the visibility is long overdue.

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2. Markle was "accompanied" down the aisle not "given away."

A self-proclaimed feminist, Markle made it clear from her earliest days with Harry that she would not be one to follow tradition if it didn't align with her values. This became evident through details like the style of the wedding to the choice of the cake maker and in other traditions, like Markle's walk down the aisle.  

In most Western weddings, a bride's father walks her down the aisle to "give her away" to her husband, steeped in a tradition of treating women like property that can be transferred. Markle, whose father was unable to attend the wedding, chose to walk the first part of the aisle alone and then was joined by Prince Charles for the remainder. Most important was the language used around this aspect of the ceremony: Markle was "accompanied" down the aisle.

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Given the U.K.'s staunch traditionalism, Markle's prominent decision was an important display of autonomy and a woman's ability to make her own choices even in a committed marriage. It also serves as a beautiful reminder that traditions can be honored and altered to reflect a progressive marriage that allows both individuals to own their choices.

3. The sermon was a legendary display of black ministry and love.  

Bishop Michael Curry, the first black presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church, brought down the house with a powerful sermon called "The Power of Love," citing love's redemptive and powerful capabilities. Speaking of Gilead, slavery, and the importance of mutual respect in loving relationships, Curry's sermon was one of the most moving portions of the ceremony. Discussing the complexity of humanity and love's role in moving it forward, Curry proclaimed, "Love is the only way. There's power in love. Don't underestimate it. Don't even over-sentimentalize it. There's power, power in love."

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Markle, who was key in the decision to break from tradition and involve an  American bishop in the ceremony, was visibly moved by the speech. Given Britain's horrific role in slavery and colonization, Curry's sermon was a reminder that redemption is possible only when we allow love to lead and guide us in our lives.

4. The couple's actions and mannerisms spoke volumes about their affection for one another.  

Of course, no one knows the ins and outs of Markle and Harry's relationship except them, but if the wedding was any indication, these two remind us that love can be so, so real. Endless research points to how body language often offers insights into a couple's relationship. From simple gestures such as Harry rubbing Markle's thumb during the ceremony to his loving words once she reached the alter, the two shared interactions that looked like they were pulled straight out of a fairy tale.  

In times when love is often mocked or deemed impossible, their public display of affection were subtle reminders that there is magic and love and vulnerability, and it still totally exists.

5. Markle's black roots radiated through the church.  

In spite of a media that seemed to both question and criticize Markle's blackness, she incorporated her culture in some of the most beautiful ways. In addition to Curry's sermon, the Kingdom Choir, led by Karen Gibson, sang a stunning rendition of "Stand By Me" for the ceremony. Sheku Kanneh-Mason, a cellist handpicked by the royal couple moved the crowd with his renditions of Franz Schubert's "Ave Maria," Gabriel Fauré's "Après un rêve," and Maria Theresia von Paradis' "Sicilienne."  

Markle's effortless incorporation of her culture showed the world how proud she is of her roots, and it's a sign that her blackness will be centered in her public role in the U.K.

From endless fairy tale photographs to smiling faces around the room, Harry and Markle's wedding ceremony provided some much needed joy in a complicated world. Hopefully, it's just the beginning.

Courtesy of Amita Swadhin
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In 2016, Amita Swadhin, a child of two immigrant parents from India, founded Mirror Memoirs to help combat rape culture. The national storytelling and organizing project is dedicated to sharing the stories of LGBTQIA+ Black, indigenous people, and people of color who survived child sexual abuse.

"Whether or not you are a survivor, 100% of us are raised in rape culture. It's the water that we're swimming in. But just as fish don't know they are in water, because it's just the world around them that they've always been in, people (and especially those who aren't survivors) may need some help actually seeing it," they add.

"Mirror Memoirs attempts to be the dye that helps everyone understand the reality of rape culture."

Amita built the idea for Mirror Memoirs from a theater project called "Undesirable Elements: Secret Survivors" that featured their story and those of four other survivors in New York City, as well as a documentary film and educational toolkit based on the project.

"Secret Survivors had a cast that was gender, race, and age-diverse in many ways, but we had neglected to include transgender women," Amita explains. "Our goal was to help all people who want to co-create a world without child sexual abuse understand that the systems historically meant to help survivors find 'healing' and 'justice' — namely the child welfare system, policing, and prisons — are actually systems that facilitate the rape of children in oppressed communities," Amita continues. "We all have to explore tools of healing and accountability outside of these systems if we truly want to end all forms of sexual violence and rape culture."

Amita also wants Mirror Memoirs to be a place of healing for survivors that have historically been ignored or underserved by anti-violence organizations due to transphobia, homophobia, racism, xenophobia, and white supremacy.

Amita Swadhin

"Hearing survivors' stories is absolutely healing for other survivors, since child sexual abuse is a global pandemic that few people know how to talk about, let alone treat and prevent."

"Since sexual violence is an isolating event, girded by shame and stigma, understanding that you're not alone and connecting with other survivors is alchemy, transmuting isolation into intimacy and connection."

This is something that Amita knows and understands well as a survivor herself.

"My childhood included a lot of violence from my father, including rape and other forms of domestic violence," says Amita. "Mandated reporting was imposed on me when I was 13 and it was largely unhelpful since the prosecutors threatened to incarcerate my mother for 'being complicit' in the violence I experienced, even though she was also abused by my father for years."

What helped them during this time was having the support of others.

"I'm grateful to have had a loving younger sister and a few really close friends, some of whom were also surviving child sexual abuse, though we didn't know how to talk about it at the time," Amita says.

"I'm also a queer, non-binary femme person living with complex post-traumatic stress disorder, and those identities have shaped a lot of my life experiences," they continue. "I'm really lucky to have an incredible partner and network of friends and family who love me."

"These realizations put me on the path of my life's work to end this violence quite early in life," they said.

Amita wants Mirror Memoirs to help build awareness of just how pervasive rape culture is. "One in four girls and one in six boys will be raped or sexually assaulted by the age of 18," Amita explains, "and the rates are even higher for vulnerable populations, such as gender non-conforming, disabled, deaf, unhoused, and institutionalized children." By sharing their stories, they're hoping to create change.

"Listening to stories is also a powerful way to build empathy, due to the mirror neurons in people's brains. This is, in part, why the project is called Mirror Memoirs."

So far, Mirror Memoirs has created an audio archive of BIPOC LGBTQI+ child sexual abuse survivors sharing their stories of survival and resilience that includes stories from 60 survivors across 50 states. This year, they plan to record another 15 stories, specifically of transgender and nonbinary people who survived child sexual abuse in a sport-related setting, with their partner organization, Athlete Ally.

"This endeavor is in response to the more than 100 bills that have been proposed across at least 36 states in 2021 seeking to limit the rights of transgender and non-binary children to play sports and to receive gender-affirming medical care with the support of their parents and doctors," Amita says.

In 2017, Mirror Memoirs held its first gathering, which was attended by 31 people. Today, the organization is a fiscally sponsored, national nonprofit with two staff members, a board of 10 people, a leadership council of seven people, and 500 members nationally.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, they created a mutual aid fund for the LGBTQIA+ community of color and were able to raise a quarter-million dollars. They received 2,509 applications for assistance, and in the end, they decided to split the money evenly between each applicant.

While they're still using storytelling as the building block of their work, they're also engaging in policy and advocacy work, leadership development, and hosting monthly member meetings online.

For their work, Amita is one of Tory's Burch's Empowered Women. Their donation will go to Mirror Memoirs to help fund production costs for their new theater project, "Transmutation: A Ceremony," featuring four Black transgender, intersex, and non-binary women and femmes who live in California.

"I'm grateful to every single child sexual survivor who has ever disclosed their truth to me," Amita says. "I know another world is possible, and I know survivors will build it, together with all the people who love 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!

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Wil Wheaton speaking to an audience at 2019 Wondercon.

In an era of debates over cancel culture and increased accountability for people with horrendous views and behaviors, the question of art vs. artist is a tricky one. When you find out an actor whose work you enjoy is blatantly racist and anti-semitic in real life, does that realization ruin every movie they've been a part of? What about an author who has expressed harmful opinions about a marginalized group? What about a smart, witty comedian who turns out to be a serial sexual assaulter? Where do you draw the line between a creator and their creation?

As someone with his feet in both worlds, actor Wil Wheaton weighed in on that question and offered a refreshingly reasonable perspective.

A reader who goes by @avinlander asked Wheaton on Tumblr:

"Question: I have more of an opinion question for you. When fans of things hear about misconduct happening on sets/behind-the-scenes are they allowed to still enjoy the thing? Or should it be boycotted completely? Example: I've been a major fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer since I was a teenager and it was currently airing. I really nerded out on it and when I lost my Dad at age 16 'The Body' episode had me in such cathartic tears. Now we know about Joss Whedon. I haven't rewatched a single episode since his behavior came to light. As a fan, do I respectfully have to just box that away? Is it disrespectful of the actors that went through it to knowingly keep watching?"

And Wheaton offered this response, which he shared on Facebook:

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."