Serena Williams gives an inspiring speech, remains the greatest ever.

Serena Williams is a badass. This is a well-established fact.

And 2015 has been a pretty amazing year for her. She won three Grand Slam titles, shut down body-shamers, pushed back against pushy reporters, got some major praise from one of tennis' greats, struck a powerful pose in a world-famous calendar, and deservedly took home Sports Illustrated's Sportsperson of the Year award.


Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images.

On Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015, she gave one powerhouse of a speech at the Sportsperson of the Year awards ceremony.

It's the type of speech that'll inspire you to get up and start checking things off that long-neglected to-do list. It's the type of speech that sounds like it belongs in a commercial for something ungodly expensive. It's the type of speech that'll make you want to be a better you.

It's the type of speech that stresses the message that yes, sometimes things in life are stacked against you, but no, that doesn't mean you're doomed to failure. You, like Serena, can overcome.

GIFs from Sports Illustrated.

She's faced criticism for her looks, her gender, and her race — but she won't stand for it.

Earlier this year, The New York Times published an article focused on her looks.

And, not only that, some interviewed in the article even suggested that Williams, a very muscular 5'9", was somehow less a woman as a result of how she looks.


In her speech, she had a few things to say about that and about criticism she's received because she is a black woman.


She shut down doubters who underestimated her resolve and declared her career done-and-over years ago.

She's won 21 Grand Slam titles over 16 years (and she's quick to remind us all that she's not done). And at 34 years old — ancient in professional athlete years — she's still crushing the competition. Just three titles away from tying the all-time record, she's got a shot.

But perhaps the best part of Williams speech was her reading of Maya Angelou's "Still I Rise."

It's a powerful poem about overcoming society's expectations, about pushing back against oppression and succeeding in a world that wants nothing more than to see a black woman fail. The full poem, as read by Maya Angelou, can be found here.

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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.

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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.

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