Now that's what I call an *acceptance* speech. Amazing job, Kerry Washington.

Standing in front of a crowd of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals and their allies, "Scandal" actress Kerry Washington took the stage to accept GLAAD's Vanguard Award.

Each year, the Vanguard Award goes to someone in the entertainment industry who has helped push LGBT rights forward. It's been awarded to people like Drew Barrymore, Josh Hutcherson, Jennifer Lopez, and Jennifer Aniston.


Her speech was a fiery call for the "others" of the world to join together to "fight the good fight" and to work to end a system that leaves some people with fewer basic rights than others.

She discussed how people of color, women, LGBT individuals, and other marginalized groups have often been pitted against one another.


"Now you would think that those of us who are kept from our full rights of citizenship would band together and fight the good fight. But history tells us that no, often we don't. Women, poor people, people of color, people with disabilities, immigrants, gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, trans people, intersex people — we have been pitted against each other and made to feel like there are limited seats at the table for those of us who fall into the category of 'other.'"

She has a powerful, uplifting suggestion: The "others" of the world need to work together in their common goal and use the power of storytelling to create change.

"There is so much power in storytelling, and there is enormous power in inclusive storytelling, in inclusive representation. ... We must be allies, and we must be allied in this business because to be represented is to be humanized. And as long as anyone anywhere is being made to feel less human, our very definition of humanity is at stake, and we are all vulnerable.

We must see each other, all of us; and we must see ourselves, all of us. We must continue to break new ground until that is just how it is. Until we are no longer firsts and exceptions and rare and unique. In the real world, being an 'other' is the norm. In the real world, the only norm is uniqueness, and our media must reflect that."



Washington's message is powerful and personal. But above all, it's an honest reflection on a world that treats entire groups of people — women, people of color, LGBT people — as second-class citizens, as "others." Our world needs to be better than that, and as she says at the start of her speech: Some stuff needs to be said.

Watch Kerry Washington's powerful speech below:

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.