Meghan Markle Speaks Up for Women 'Disproportionately Affected' by COVID Pandemic for Vax Live Concert
"When we think of her, we think of all the young women and girls around the globe who must be given the ability and the support to lead us forward," Meghan Markle said
Meghan Markle is speaking up for equal access to the COVID vaccine for the safety of everyone around the world, including her baby girl on the way.
On Saturday, the Duchess of Sussex, who is expecting her second child, a baby girl, with husband Prince Harry later this summer, made a virtual speech for the Global Citizen's VAX Live: The Concert to Reunite the World.
"We've gathered tonight because the road ahead is getting brighter. But it's going to take every one of us to find our way forward. As campaign chairs of Vax Live, my husband and I believe it's critical that our recovery prioritizes the health, safety and success of everyone, particularly women who have been disproportionately affected by this pandemic," said Meghan.
"Women, and especially women of color, have seen a generation of economic gain wiped out. Since the pandemic began, nearly five-and-a-half million women have lost work in the U.S. And 47 million more women around the world are expected to slip into extreme poverty," she continued.
"My husband and I are thrilled to soon be welcoming a daughter. It's a feeling of joy we share with millions of other families around the world. When we think of her, we think of all the young women and girls around the globe who must be given the ability and the support to lead us forward," Meghan said. "Their future leadership depends on the decisions we make and the actions we take now to set them up, and set all of us up, for a successful, equitable, compassionate tomorrow. We want to make sure that as we recover, we recover stronger. That as we rebuild, we rebuild together. Thank you."
Meghan, 39, and Harry, 36, served as the campaign chairs of the star-studded show, which had a goal to increase donations and sharing of vaccine doses to priority populations around the world.
On Thursday, Meghan and Harry shared how people around the world can support a good cause in honor of their son Archie's 2nd birthday on their Archewell Foundation website. "We have been deeply touched over the past two years to feel the warmth and support for our family in honor of Archie's birthday," the couple wrote. "Many of you donate to charities on his behalf, and mark the occasion by giving back or doing an act of service—all through the goodness of your hearts. You raise funds for those who need it most, and continue to do so organically and selflessly. We remain incredibly grateful."
They also said the world is still struggling to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and "we will not be able to truly recover until everyone, everywhere, has equal access to the vaccine," adding, "We cannot think of a more resonant way to honor our son's birthday. If we all show up, with compassion for those we both know and don't know, we can have a profound impact. Even a small contribution can have a ripple effect. Together, we can uplift, protect, and care for one another."
Ahead of the broadcast on Saturday evening, Global Citizen shared a clip of Harry discussing why the campaign is so important to him.
"Over the last year, everyone has experienced so much loss and so much struggle and I think the only way that we are really going to heal and recover is to do that together," he said.
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"When [Global Citizen CEO Hugh Evans] asked us to be campaign chairs, of course, we jumped at the opportunity to say yes, to throw our support behind this because we believe in it," he continued. "But I think what we really need to be aware of and what we cannot allow to happen, is science being politicized."
In the clip, Harry also calls for widespread access to the vaccine. "So many things have been politicized over the years but when we're talking about life and death — which is what we're talking about now — vaccines cannot be politicized," he said. "Being able to come together as humans, as people, is how we're going to get ourselves out of this and we must ensure that everyone around the world has equal access to the vaccine, otherwise none of this works."
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During the concert, which was filmed last Sunday in Los Angeles, Harry also gave an impassioned speech about the necessity of working together in order to beat the pandemic on a global scale.
"Hi everybody. We are at a defining moment in the global fight against COVID-19. Tonight is a celebration of each of you here, the vaccinated frontline workers in the audience and the millions of frontline heroes around the world," he began. "You spent the last year battling courageously and selflessly to protect us all. You served and sacrificed, put yourselves in harm's way and with bravery knowing the costs. "We owe you an incredible depth of gratitude, thank you."
"But we're also coming together because this pandemic cannot end unless we act collectively with an unprecedented commitment to our shared humanity. The vaccine must be distributed to everyone everywhere. We cannot rest or truly recover until there is fair distribution to every corner of the world. The mission in front of us is one we cannot afford to fail out and that's what tonight is about. The virus does not respect borders and access to the vaccine cannot be determined by geography. It must be accepted as a basic right for all and that is our starting point," Harry continued.
"None of us should be comfortable thinking that we could be fine when so many others are suffering. In reality, and especially with this pandemic, when any suffer, we all suffer. We must look beyond ourselves with empathy and compassion for those we know, and those we don't. We need to lift up all of humanity and make sure that no person or community is left behind. What we do in this moment will stand in history and tonight, we stand in solidarity with the millions of families across India who are battling a devastating second wave," he concluded.
Alongside Harry and Meghan, VAX Live also featured appearances from President Joe Biden along with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Ben Affleck, Chrissy Teigen, David Letterman, Gayle King, Jimmy Kimmel, Nomzamo Mbatha, Olivia Munn and Sean Penn. Meanwhile, Selena Gomez hosted the event.