+

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.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Noe Hernandez and Maria Carrillo, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, California.

Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.

Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.

It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.

"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."

Keep ReadingShow less

Hold on, Frankie! Mama's coming!

How do you explain motherhood in a nutshell? Thanks to Cait Oakley, who stopped a preying bald eagle from capturing her pet goose as she breastfed her daughter, we have it summed up in one gloriously hilarious TikTok.

The now viral video shows the family’s pet goose, Frankie, frantically squawking as it gets dragged off the porch by a bald eagle—likely another mom taking care of her own kiddos.

Wearing nothing but her husband’s boxers while holding on to her newborn, Willow, Oakley dashes out of the house and successfully comes to Frankie's rescue while yelling “hey, hey hey!”

The video’s caption revealed that the Oakleys had already lost three chickens due to hungry birds of prey, so nothing was going to stop “Mama bear” from protecting “sweet Frankie.” Not even a breastfeeding session.

Oakley told TODAY Parents, “It was just a split second reaction ...There was nowhere to put Willow down at that point.” Sometimes being a mom means feeding your child and saving your pet all at the same time.

As for how she feels about running around topless in her underwear on camera, Oakley declared, “I could have been naked and I’m like, ‘whatever, I’m feeding my baby.’”

Keep ReadingShow less