Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Call New NAACP Award Winner an 'Inspiration to Us'

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex praised Markup CEO Nabiha Syed for "harnessing her own expertise to push for safer, more inclusive online communities"

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JULY 18: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex arrive at the United Nations Headquarters on July 18, 2022 in New York City. Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex is the keynote speaker during the United Nations General assembly to mark the observance of Nelson Mandela International Day where the 2020 U.N. Nelson Mandela Prize will be awarded to Mrs. Marianna Vardinogiannis of Greece and Dr. Morissanda Kouyaté of Guinea. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty

For the second year, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's Archewell Foundation is teaming up with the NAACP to honor someone who is creating transformational change in the digital world.

This year's winner of the NAACP-Archewell Digital Civil Rights Award is Nabiha Syed, the CEO of The Markup, a nonprofit news publication focused on the impact of technology on society.

"When we founded this award with the NAACP, we wanted to highlight and uplift people across the country who are transforming the digital world for the better. Nabiha Syed is doing just that, harnessing her own expertise to push for safer, more inclusive online communities," the Duke and Duchess of Sussex said in a statement.

"Nabiha and her team are shedding light on some of the most critical issues of our time and in doing so, empowering all of us to reclaim some of our most basic freedoms: truth, safety, and choice," Prince Harry, 38, and Meghan, 41, added. "She's an inspiration to us and so many others, and we're proud to support her incredibly important work." Nabiha Syed/Instagram
Nabiha Syed. Nabiha Syed/Instagram

Syed wrote on Twitter that she was "beyond honored" to receive the award.

"Technology is the architecture of our reality — but unfortunately, that architecture can perpetuate inequality and injustice. Our job now is to challenge technology to serve us all, not just those who hold power and privilege," said Syed in a statement. "I am humbled and grateful to the NAACP and The Archewell Foundation for their support as we equip the public to demand better."

The Markup added their congratulations on social media as well, writing: "What an incredible honor. Congratulations to our CEO, @nabihasyed!"

NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson said in a statement, "We are honored to award and support Nabiha Syed in her mission to make democracy work for all. While technology has made everything more accessible and everyone more connected, it has the potential to cause tremendous setbacks for civil rights, as we have witnessed in recent years. We need to support the greatest minds in tech who are developing equitable platforms and holding corporations accountable, and that is exactly what Nabiha Syed is doing. We are grateful to The Archewell Foundation and The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who have been tremendous partners in the fight to advance civil and human rights across the tech sector."

Prince Harry (L) and Meghan Markle, Duke and Duchess of Sussex, accept the PresidentÕs Award at the 53rd NAACP Image Awards Show at The Switch on Saturday, February 26, 2022 in Burbank, CA.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Earl Gibson III/Shutterstock

Last year, Prince Harry and Meghan appeared on stage at the NAACP Image Awards to share the first winner of the NAACP-Archewell Digital Civil Rights Award: Dr. Safiya Noble, cofounder of the UCLA center for critical internet inquiry, a renowned scholar, author and advocate.

Prince Harry said, "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 this 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."

Can't get enough of PEOPLE's Royals coverage? Sign up for our free Royals newsletter to get the latest updates on Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and more!

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and Doria Ragland
Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and Doria Ragland join NAACP Image Awards host Anthony Anderson and his mother, Doris Bowman. Earl Gibson III/NAACP

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex also accepted the President's Award in recognition of special achievement and distinguished public service. Past recipients of the honor include Muhammad Ali, Jesse Jackson, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, LeBron James and Rihanna. Through their Archewell Foundation, Harry and Meghan have supported efforts to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and focused their attention on the Black Lives Matter movement and fighting for racial justice.

During the couple's speech, Harry thanked the Black community for "welcoming me so warmly," while Meghan, who brought her mom Doria Ragland to the awards show, said she "couldn't be prouder."

Related Articles