The king of Norway gave a beautiful speech on LGBTQ people and immigrants.

This is Harald V, the 79-year-old King of Norway.

Photo by Lise Aserud/AFP/Getty Images.

He's done a lot in his eight decades on this Earth.


For example, Harald V competed in the Olympics in the 1960s — twice.

His devotion to Team Norway hasn't faltered since.

Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images.

He beat cancer over a decade ago.

And he's still going strong.

Photo by Daniel Sannum-Lauten/AFP/Getty Images.

In 2015, he became the first ever reigning monarch to visit Antarctica.

How many septuagenarians can say they did that?

Photo by Tore Meek/AFP/Getty Images.

But a surprising addition to his ever-growing list of big achievements was added this week after a speech he gave to guests in Oslo about equality.

Speeches from Norwegian leaders may not always make waves around the world. But Harald V's words about his country's LGBTQ community — as well as its immigrants and refugees — quickly went viral for all the right reasons.

The king boldly and beautifully pointed out that his country is at its greatest when it cares for all of its people.

"Norwegians are girls who love girls, boys who love boys, and boys and girls who love each other," the king declared outside his palace.

"Norwegians believe in God, Allah, everything, and nothing."

Harald V meets with Malala Yousafzai in 2014. Photo by Heiko Junge/AFP/Getty Images.

"Norwegians are also immigrants from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Poland, Sweden, Somalia, and Syria," he said.

"It is not always easy to say where we come from, to which nationality we belong. Home is where the heart is. That cannot always be placed within country borders."

Photo by Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images.

The king's speech, which you can watch below, is powerful at face value. But it's especially so given our current global political climate.

Anti-immigrant sentiment — particularly toward Muslims — is on the rise across many Western countries. Many have pointed to Donald Trump's presidential candidacy, the game-changing Brexit vote, and the popularity of France's far-right Marine Le Pen as proof of this disturbing reality.

Just this week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel's pro-immigrant party suffered blows from anti-Muslim candidates in regional elections.

Photo by Nicolas Asfouri/Pool/Getty Images.

That's why it's not just refreshing to hear a leader speak boldly about the importance of inclusion — it's vital in batting down bigotry.

While Norway has often championed LGBTQ rights and is viewed as a progressive leader on the world stage, anti-Muslim rhetoric has been on the rise there too in recent years. The king's compassionate speech is being heralded as a means to combat that hate.

Harald V may also have had his nation's economy in mind giving this speech: Research suggests that when countries are more open to cultural diversity and prioritize inclusivity, it leads to better economic growth.

Combating hate isn't just the right thing to do, it's the smart thing to do.

"You are Norway," Harald V  said. "We are Norway."

"My biggest hope for Norway is that we will manage to take care of each other, that we can build this country further on trust, solidarity, and generosity."

Photo by Ian Stewart/AFP/Getty Images.

Watch Harald V's entire speech below:

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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In 2015, Gravity Payments CEO Dan Price had a life-changing epiphany.

Price, who founded Gravity with his brother in 2004, was out hiking in the Cascade Mountains with his friend, Valerie. She told him her landlord had raised her rent by $200 and she was struggling to get by on her $40,000 a year income. Price, who was making $1.1 million a year as CEO of Gravity, was struck by her story. Not only did he feel for Valerie—a military veteran working two jobs and barely making ends meet—realized that some of his own employees might be facing similar struggles.

And they were. One employee frankly told him his entry-level salary was a rip-off. Another employee had secretly been working at McDonald's outside of work hours to make ends meet. So Price decided to make a drastic change by investing in his employees.

He researched how much money the average person would need in order to live comfortably and settled on $70,000 a year. In one fell swoop, he dropped his own salary to that amount, while also making it the minimum salary for anyone who worked at Gravity.

The move drew media coverage—and dire predictions from pundits. On Fox News and other conservative outlets he was called "foolish," a "socialist" and a "lunatic of lunatics." Rush Limbaugh called the company policy "pure unadulterated socialism" that was "going to fail" and should be a case study in MBA programs on how socialism doesn't work. Talking heads predicted that his employees would end up in the welfare line.

Six years later, Price has proved the haters wrong—by a lot.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less