On Monday night, some of the world's most influential leaders gathered in New York City for the 2017 Glamour Women of the Year Awards. I was lucky enough to be in the audience, and in just a few hours, I saw some moments I'll never forget. Here's a look:
Muzoon Almellehan is a Fighter
The 18-year-old activist and the youngest Goodwill Ambassador to UNICEF had to flee her war-ravaged home in Syria just a few years ago and lived in a refugee camp. What she brought with her there were her books. “I only cared about my studies," she said during her speech. "Without education, we can’t go and rebuild our country," she said.
Peggy Whitson Encouraged the Dreamers
The astronaut who spent a record-breaking 665 days in space told the many young women in the audience, "I started as a farm girl in Iowa,” an emotional Whitson said. “I dreamed of being an astronaut and an explorer, and I made it.”
Patty Jenkins is the Real Wonder Woman
After an intro from the OG Wonder Woman Linda Carter, Patty Jenkins, the director of the biggest and most important film of the year took the stage. "We have a lot of problems. And there was this 75-year-old hero that has been brought to life that stands for something very new," she said. "She stands for a new kind of hero, who can be strong and powerful and can fight the bad guy, but also believes in love and thoughtfulness, and a better way." She continued, "I see a world where we need a new kind of hero."
As Carter said of Jenkins, "She got the essence of Wonder Woman because it lived inside her...She made the ‘she’ become the ‘we’ on the big screen all over the world.”
When Survivors of Sexual Harassment Took the Stage
In one of the most sobering and important moments of the night, Jodi Cantor and Megan Twohey, the reporters responsible for exposing the abuses by Harvey Weinstein in their revealing New York Times expose, called Anita Hill, Aly Raisman, Anna Cardenas and Cameron Russell to the stage. Raisman, who spoke being a survivor of sexual abuse, exposed "the flaws in the system that allowed this to happen in the first place, and enabled it to continue for decades."
Russell said, "For too long, sexual harassment has been a norm in our profession. If we complain, the response is, 'Well, that’s part of the job.' But our jobs should NOT include abuse."
"Every day of the last six weeks has brought new stories as women have come forward with accusations against abusers in every field," Cantor noted. "Female farmworkers, restaurant workers, and athletes have shared their stories. To date, the hashtag #MeToo has been Tweeted over 2.3 million times in 85 countries."
When Maxine Waters started an "Impeach" chant
The amazing Waters basically had a standing ovation from the moment Zendaya mentioned her name in her introduction until she left the stage. "She reminds us to be fearless," said Zendaya.
During her acceptance speech, Waters spoke directly to the young women in the audience about getting involved in politics. "I want you to do everything that you can to run for office," Waters said. She then started to hone in on President Trump. "You recognize when a leader is irresponsible. You recognize when a leader is dishonorable and disrespectful. You recognize when a leader is dangerous, even if that leader is the President of the United States of America."
She then started chanting "Impeach 45! Impeach 45!" and the crowd joined in quickly and enthusiastically. "And I want you to have courage. I want you to know that you can stand up to him or anybody else. For those who say to me, 'You are asking for something too soon and too early, be careful, don't jeopardize yourself, don't say what you're saying right now,' I will continue to say, 'Impeach him! Impeach him! Impeach him!"
When Sarinya Srisakul Took The Stage
Last night, this firefighter became the first-ever recipient of the Freedom Award. But firsts are nothing new for this woman as she was the New York Fire Department’s first female Asian American firefighter and she is also president of the United Women Firefighters (UWF). Thanks to her work the number of women in the NYFD has more than doubled.
Solange Knowles Is All About the Journey
The singer told the audience that the journey to follow your passion is the most important. “When I was about 11 years old, you’ve got to shoot for the moon and even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars,” she said. “Well, I wasn’t interested in either one. I was interested in the journey there...We as women are told from the second that we come into our own that we must not only shoot for the moon but hold it in our hands, turn it until the morning, nurture all of its rings...and feel and look like a goddess. That is not my journey.”
When Samantha Bee said hopefully one day we won't need women's awards shows
"I look forward to a time where we can get dressed up and be together and eat fancy finger foods and talk about completely different things, like a time when women's equality will just be a given, where our contributions and our influences and our talents will just be recognized every (expletive) day, not just on special occasions," Bee said. "Because we have other matters to get to! There are so many things that need our attention!"
The Organizers of the Women's March Got Into Formation
The fabulous Tracee Ellis Ross presented the final award of the night to the 25 female organizers of this January’s Women’s March. Organizer Mia Ives-Rublee told the crowd, “My story is intermingled with the amazing stories of the women who put their blood, sweat, and tears into the Women’s March.” She continued, “I knew the world would roll over me if I stayed silent. So I found my voice.”
Watch videos of the speeches here.