Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are extending their Archewell Foundation’s civil rights efforts to the digital sphere.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex made a special appearance at the NAACP Image Awards tonight, where the couple received the President’s Award “in recognition of special achievement and distinguished public service.” For their acceptance speech, the pair dressed in elegant looks from popular Black designers.
Duchess Meghan wore a sapphire-blue, goddess-style dress by Christopher John Rogers, which featured a knee-high slit and a baby-blue sash that extended to a train, while Prince Harry donned a black tuxedo by Ozwald Boateng.
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After beginning their speech with a reflection of the Image Awards’ legacy and a call for global support towards the people of Ukraine, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex focused their speech on introducing the new NAACP-Archewell Digital Civil Rights Award, which will honor leaders working to advance civil and human rights “at the intersection of social justice and technology,” per an Archewell statement.
The 2022 inaugural recipient, internet studies scholar and Algorithms of Oppression author Dr. Safiya Noble, received a $100,000 unrestricted stipend to be used to continue to make an impact in her field.
“Safiya’s work speaks to a new chapter in the movement for civil rights. This community knows what it means to speak up for what is right, and to march for what is just. As the fight for justice still remains, it’s time to extend this march to the world online, a place where hate and discrimination are fueled instantly, propagated globally, and felt deeply,” Harry said.
“This is the era of the digital justice movement,” Meghan continued. “We are proud to partner with NAACP and each of you to translate the vital efforts of those who came before us to the modern challenges that exist ahead of us.”
The duchess ended the speech with a shoutout to her mother, Doria Ragland, who attended the ceremony with the couple.
Read Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan’s full speech below (paragraph breaks indicate when the two switched speaking, with Meghan beginning):
“Thank you so much [NAACP] President [Derrick] Johnson for this incredible honor. It’s inspiring to think about the legacy surrounding the Image Awards, which began shortly after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were passed into law. And today, we can continue that legacy by reestablishing federal voting protections in our country and fulfilling the work of civil rights giants like the late John Lewis. We are so deeply humbled to be here in the company of so many illustrious awardees.
Before we begin, we would like to acknowledge the people of Ukraine who urgently need our continued support as a global community. And I also echo the immense gratitude for tonight, both for this award and to this community for welcoming me so warmly. I think it’s safe to say that I come from a very different background than my incredible wife. Yet our lives were brought together for a reason. We share a commitment to a life of service, a responsibility to confront injustice, and a belief that the most often overlooked are the most important to listen to.
And I couldn’t be prouder that we’re doing this work together. We moved to California, my home state, shortly before the murder of George Floyd, and for Black America, those nine minutes and 29 seconds transcended time, invoking centuries of our unhealed wounds. In the months that followed, as my husband and I spoke with the civil rights community, we committed ourselves and our organization Archewell, to illuminate those who are advancing racial justice and progress.
In that spirit, we partnered with the team here to create the NAACP-Archewell Digital Civil Rights Award, which will be given annually to leaders creating transformational change at the intersection of social justice and technology.
And last night, President Johnson presented this new award to its first recipient, Dr. Safiya Noble, Co-Founder of the UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry. A renowned scholar, author and advocate. Dr. Noble is a visionary and partner to Archewell.
Safiya’s work speaks to a new chapter in the movement for civil rights. This community knows what it means to speak up for what is right, and to march for what is just. As the fight for justice still remains, it’s time to extend this march to the world online, a place where hate and discrimination are fueled instantly, propagated globally, and felt deeply.
This is the era of the digital justice movement. We are proud to partner with NAACP and each of you to translate the vital efforts of those who came before us to the modern challenges that exist ahead of us. Thank you so much for joining us in this work, and thank you again for this incredible honor, truly. My mom’s here with us tonight and we all feel very proud. Thank you.”
This article originally appeared in Harper’s BAZAAR US