Meryl Streep's poignant speech on civil rights in the age of Trump is a must-read.

On Feb. 11, 2017, Meryl Streep accepted the Ally for Equality Award given by the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's leading LGBTQ rights group.

The honor came about a month after her rousing speech at the Golden Globes accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award, when she took on Trumpism (without ever once saying the president's name), celebrated an open and fair press, and defended immigrants everywhere.

Even with the bar held so high, though, Streep's remarks at the HRC gala didn't disappoint.


Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images.

Streep's speech touched on several key points that put this moment in LGBTQ history clearly into perspective, inspiring us to keep pushing onward:

1. First, Streep reflected on the progress we've made so far, with a story from her own childhood about a transgender teacher who changed her life — and the country.

"When I was a young girl growing up in middle-class New Jersey, my entire artistic life was curated by people who lived in the straightjacket of conformist suburban life," she said. "In the late '50s and early '60s, in my neighborhood, all the houses were the same size, in the developments they were the same style, and in school the goal was to put pennies in your loafers, to look alike and act alike. Standing out, being different was like drawing a target on your forehead. You had to have a special kind of courage to do it."

The Gay Pride Parade marches on in New York City outside the Stonewall Inn — the birthplace of the LGBTQ rights movement. Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

"Some of my teachers were obliged to live their whole lives hidden, covertly," Streep said, referencing her sixth- and seventh-grade music teacher Paula Grossman, who transitioned later in life, as "one of the bravest people [she] knew." (Streep's choice to refer to her former teacher by her deadname, however, was a disappointing moment in an otherwise excellent speech.)

As Streep pointed out, Grossman had been fired for being transgender and fought the decision for seven years in a case that eventually made it to the Supreme Court.

"She was a garrulous, cantankerous, terrific teacher, and she never taught again. But her case set the stage for many discrimination cases that followed."

2. Streep slammed the president's disregard for governing norms and human rights — by thanking him and his most voracious supporters for the reminder that we can't take progress for granted.

"Amazingly, and, in terms of human history, blazingly fast, culture seemed to have shifted," Streep said, noting how the 20th century brought up an unprecedented fight for equality among women, people of color, the LGBTQ community, people with disabilities, and more.

"We should not be surprised that fundamentalists, of every stripe, are exercised and fuming. We should not be surprised that these profound changes come at a steeper cost than we originally thought. We should not be surprised that not everyone is actually cool with it."

Thousands of demonstrators flooded the streets of Washington, D.C., on Jan. 21, 2017, the day after Trump's inauguration, to protest his political agenda. Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images.

"If we live through this precarious moment, if his catastrophic instinct to retaliate doesn’t lead us to nuclear winter, we will have much to thank our current leader for," she said. "[Donald Trump] will have woken us up to how fragile freedom is. His whisperers will have alerted us to potential flaws in the balance of power in government. To how we have relied on the goodwill and selflessness of most previous occupants of the Oval Office. How quaint notions of custom, honor and duty compelled them to adhere to certain practices of transparency and responsibility. To how it all can be ignored."

3. And Streep ended her speech with a rallying cry, encouraging all of us to double down on our efforts to keep the fight for progress alive and honor those who came before us.

"Here we are in 2017, the year the browser seems to have gone down. In danger of losing much of our information, we seem to be reverting to factory settings," Streep said. "But we are not going to go back to the bad old days of ignorance and harassment, oppression and hiding who we are. Because we owe it to the people who have died for our rights — and who died before they got their own."

A demonstrator holds a photo of the slain Harvey Milk, an LGBTQ rights pioneer who became the first out gay person to be elected to public office in California. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

"We owe it to the pioneers of the LGBTQ movement, like Paula Grossman, and to the people on the front lines of all civil-rights movements, not to let them down."

"The good thing about being older is that you do get to mark the progress of decades," Streep concluded. "You can honestly say, 'Things are better now.'"

"But what is the famous quote? 'The price of liberty is eternal vigilance?'" she asked rhetorically. "Everybody thinks that was Jefferson, but it was an Irishman, John Philpot Curran, don't 'cha know, who also said: 'Evil prospers when good men do nothing.'"

Photo by Ozan Kose/AFP/Getty Images.

True

We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

Terence Power / TikTok

A video of a busker in Dublin, Ireland singing "You've Got a Friend in Me" to a young boy with autism is going viral because it's just so darn adorable. The video was filmed over a year ago by Terence Power, the co-host of the popular "Talking Bollox Podcast."

It was filmed before face masks were required, so you can see the boy's beautiful reaction to the song.

Power uploaded it to TikTok because he had just joined the platform and had no idea the number of lives it would touch. "The support on it is unbelievable. I posted it on my Instagram a while back and on Facebook and the support then was amazing," he told Dublin Live.

"But I recently made TikTok and said I'd share it on that and I'm so glad I did now!" he continued.

Keep Reading Show less
True

We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

A teacher's message has gone viral after he let his student sleep in class — for the kindest reason.

Teachers spend time preparing lesson plans and trying to engage students in learning. The least a kid can do is stay awake in class, right?

But high school English teacher Monte Syrie sees things differently. In a Twitter thread, he explained why he didn't take it personally when his student Meg fell asleep — and why he didn't wake her up.

Keep Reading Show less
via Ken Lund / Flickr

The dark mountains that overlook Provo, Utah were illuminated by a beautiful rainbow-colored "Y" on Thursday night just before 8 pm. The 380-foot-tall "Y" overlooks the campus of Brigham Young University, a private college owned by the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), commonly known as Mormons.

The display was planned by a group of around 40 LGBT students to mark the one-year anniversary of the university sending out a letter clarifying its stance on homosexual behavior.

"One change to the Honor Code language that has raised questions was the removal of a section on 'Homosexual Behavior.' The moral standards of the Church did not change with the recent release of the General Handbook or the updated Honor Code, " the school's statement read.

Keep Reading Show less