Meghan Markle and Prince Harry were honored for their humanitarian work and “distinguished public service” at the NAACP awards.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex received the NAACP President’s Award on Saturday night for their work with World Central Kitchen in assisting a Texas women’s shelter, supporting vaccine equity, and establishing a community relief center.
The NAACP Image Awards tweeted in a social media post: “Congratulations to our President’s Award recipients Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. #NAACPImageAwards.”
Taking to the stage to receive the award, the Duchess of Sussex said: “It’s inspiring to think about the legacy of the Image Awards, which began shortly after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were passed into law.
“Today, we can continue that legacy by re-establishing 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.”
LeBron James, Rihanna, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Muhammad Ali, and Jesse Jackson are among the previous recipients of the award.
As per Express, the Duke and Duchess collaborated with the NAACP and their Archewell Foundation to establish a new award: the NAACP-Archewell digital civil rights award, which bestows a $100,000 prize to entrepreneurs working at the interface of technology and social justice.
Safiya Noble, Ph.D., was the first recipient of the NAACP-Archewell award, who wrote a 2019 study titled Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism, which revealed how prevalent internet search algorithms are programmed to reinforce racial and gender-based biases.
Prince Harry, taking over from his wife, took the time to thank the people of Ukraine.
He said: “Before I begin, we would like to acknowledge the people of Ukraine, who urgently need our continued support as a global community.”
He then went on to thank the NAACP for the award.
The Duke of Sussex said: “I also echo the immense gratitude for tonight, both for this award and this community for welcoming me so warmly.
“I think it’s safe to say that I come from a very different background from 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.”
Taking over again, Meghan took the opportunity to honor George Floyd’s legacy.
She said: “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.
“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 illuminating those who are advancing racial justice and progress.”
Prince Harry then said: “In that spirit, we’ve partnered with the team here to create the NAACP-Archwell digital civil rights award which will be given annually to leaders creating transformational change at the intersection of social justice and technology.”
Meghan concluded her speech by saying: “We are proud to partner with NAACP and each one 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 is with us here tonight and we all feel very proud.”
Just before the couple received their award, Derrick Johnson, President, and CEO of the NAACP praised them.
He said: “We’re thrilled to present this award to Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who together have heeded the call to social justice and have joined the struggle for equity both in the US and around the world.
“Not only do they continue to lead by example, The Duke and Duchess have also decided to inspire the next generation of activists through the NAACP-Archewell Digital Civil Rights Award, ensuring the support and recognition of generations of civil rights leaders to come.”