Transcript of Meryl Streep’s Powerful Golden Globes Speech

January 8, 2017

As delivered by Meryl Streep upon acceptance of being awarded the prestigious Cecil B. DeMille Award:

Please sit down. Thank you. I love you all. You’ll have to forgive me. I’ve lost my voice in screaming and lamentation this weekend. And I have lost my mind sometime earlier this year, so I have to read.

Thank you, Hollywood Foreign Press. Just to pick up on what Hugh Laurie said: You and all of us in this room really belong to the most vilified segments in American society right now. Think about it: Hollywood, foreigners and the press.

But who are we, and what is Hollywood anyway? It’s just a bunch of people from other places. I was born and raised and educated in the public schools of New Jersey. Viola was born in a sharecropper’s cabin in South Carolina, came up in Central Falls, Rhode Island; Sarah Paulson was born in Florida, raised by a single mom in Brooklyn. Sarah Jessica Parker was one of seven or eight kids in Ohio. Amy Adams was born in Vicenza, Italy. And Natalie Portman was born in Jerusalem. Where are their birth certificates? And the beautiful Ruth Negga was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, raised in London — no, in Ireland I do believe, and she’s here nominated for playing a girl in small-town Virginia.

Ryan Gosling, like all of the nicest people, is Canadian, and Dev Patel was born in Kenya, raised in London, and is here playing an Indian raised in Tasmania. So Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners. And if we kick them all out you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts.

They gave me three seconds to say this, so: An actor’s only job is to enter the lives of people who are different from us, and let you feel what that feels like. And there were many, many, many powerful performances this year that did exactly that. Breathtaking, compassionate work.

But there was one performance this year that stunned me. It sank its hooks in my heart. Not because it was good; there was nothing good about it. But it was effective and it did its job. It made its intended audience laugh, and show their teeth. It was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter. Someone he outranked in privilege, power and the capacity to fight back. It kind of broke my heart when I saw it, and I still can’t get it out of my head, because it wasn’t in a movie. It was real life. And this instinct to humiliate, when it’s modeled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, it filters down into everybody’s life, because it kinda gives permission for other people to do the same thing. Disrespect invites disrespect, violence incites violence. And when the powerful use their position to bully others we all lose. O.K., go on with it.

O.K., this brings me to the press. We need the principled press to hold power to account, to call him on the carpet for every outrage. That’s why our founders enshrined the press and its freedoms in the Constitution. So I only ask the famously well-heeled Hollywood Foreign Press and all of us in our community to join me in supporting the Committee to Protect Journalists, because we’re gonna need them going forward, and they’ll need us to safeguard the truth.

One more thing: Once, when I was standing around on the set one day, whining about something — you know we were gonna work through supper or the long hours or whatever, Tommy Lee Jones said to me, “Isn’t it such a privilege, Meryl, just to be an actor?” Yeah, it is, and we have to remind each other of the privilege and the responsibility of the act of empathy. We should all be proud of the work Hollywood honors here tonight.

As my friend, the dear departed Princess Leia, said to me once, take your broken heart, make it into art.

 

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Good Morning

Video Courtesy; William J. Clinton Presidential Library

I remember, on that day, watching and listening to every word she spoke as if they were tangible pieces of hope, freedom, and release of burdens I could give to my loved ones of color, my loved ones whose faith system was different than mine (Christian), my loved ones whose heart loved the same as mine, but because they loved a member of the same sex they were shunned, ridiculed, and made to feel less than, dirty, and repulsive. I remember holding her words — words that empowered ME with courage, hope, and a freedom to rise up and say Good Morning to those I love, to those with which I disagree, to those whose journey is different than mine, to those I can help, to those for which I am grateful, to those whose scars feel generations old, to those whose hearts are weary, to those whose hearts are full of hope…

Good Morning.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Inaugural Poem

Maya Angelou
20 January 1993


A Rock, A River, A Tree
Hosts to species long since departed,
Marked the mastodon.The dinosaur, who left dry tokens
Of their sojourn here
On our planet floor,
Any broad alarm of their hastening doom
Is lost in the gloom of dust and ages.But today, the Rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully,
Come, you may stand upon my
Back and face your distant destiny,
But seek no haven in my shadow.I will give you no more hiding place down here.

You, created only a little lower than
The angels, have crouched too long in
The bruising darkness,
Have lain too long
Face down in ignorance.

Your mouths spilling words
Armed for slaughter.

The Rock cries out today, you may stand on me,
But do not hide your face.

Across the wall of the world,
A River sings a beautiful song,
Come rest here by my side.

Each of you a bordered country,
Delicate and strangely made proud,
Yet thrusting perpetually under siege.

Your armed struggles for profit
Have left collars of waste upon
My shore, currents of debris upon my breast.

Yet, today I call you to my riverside,
If you will study war no more. Come,

Clad in peace and I will sing the songs
The Creator gave to me when I and the
Tree and the stone were one.

Before cynicism was a bloody sear across your
Brow and when you yet knew you still
Knew nothing.

The River sings and sings on.

There is a true yearning to respond to
The singing River and the wise Rock.

So say the Asian, the Hispanic, the Jew
The African and Native American, the Sioux,
The Catholic, the Muslim, the French, the Greek
The Irish, the Rabbi, the Priest, the Sheikh,
The Gay, the Straight, the Preacher,
The privileged, the homeless, the Teacher.
They hear. They all hear
The speaking of the Tree.

Today, the first and last of every Tree
Speaks to humankind. Come to me, here beside the River.

Plant yourself beside me, here beside the River.

Each of you, descendant of some passed
On traveller, has been paid for.

You, who gave me my first name, you
Pawnee, Apache and Seneca, you
Cherokee Nation, who rested with me, then
Forced on bloody feet, left me to the employment of
Other seekers–desperate for gain,
Starving for gold.

You, the Turk, the Swede, the German, the Scot …
You the Ashanti, the Yoruba, the Kru, bought
Sold, stolen, arriving on a nightmare
Praying for a dream.

Here, root yourselves beside me.

I am the Tree planted by the River,
Which will not be moved.

I, the Rock, I the River, I the Tree
I am yours–your Passages have been paid.

Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need
For this bright morning dawning for you.

History, despite its wrenching pain,
Cannot be unlived, and if faced
With courage, need not be lived again.

Lift up your eyes upon
The day breaking for you.

Give birth again
To the dream.

Women, children, men,
Take it into the palms of your hands.

Mold it into the shape of your most
Private need. Sculpt it into
The image of your most public self.
Lift up your hearts
Each new hour holds new chances
For new beginnings.

Do not be wedded forever
To fear, yoked eternally
To brutishness.

The horizon leans forward,
Offering you space to place new steps of change.
Here, on the pulse of this fine day
You may have the courage
To look up and out upon me, the
Rock, the River, the Tree, your country.

No less to Midas than the mendicant.

No less to you now than the mastodon then.

Here on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister’s eyes, into
Your brother’s face, your country
And say simply
Very simply
With hope
Good morning.

Robby’s Story and Praying for Leigh

Yesterday, Leigh Newton Pechillo, who traveled with Up with People Cast B 1993, awoke to her two young children singing to her. She posted the video and more yesterday about how her children celebrated her on the day they know is named for her — Mother’s Day. Later yesterday, Leigh suffered a major heart attack and is in ICU. I didn’t travel in Leigh’s cast, but our casts share the same reunion years and we have become friends through the years. Her cast is AMAZING and they have a bond that has been a blessing to witness as a fellow alumni and as a member of the Up with People International Alumni Association Board of Governors when one of their cast mates was honored with the J. Blanton Belk Outstanding Alumni Award in 2008. At last year’s reunion, Leigh was surprised when she was honored with the James E. MacLennan Everyday Hero Award! To those that know Leigh, it is a fitting honor and could easily be awarded her every. single. day. because she is a hero every day.

When the tragic events occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, Leigh immediately took action to help the families and town that suffered such tragic losses and she has stayed active with her support. When other parents, friends, and strangers have experienced a heartbreaking loss or a wound of some kind in their life, Leigh is always one of the first to take action to help. Leigh and her husband Tom know first hand the fear a parent experiences when their child is hurting or seriously ill. Leigh created a beautiful video that shares her son’s story.

What I have learned from watching Leigh through the years is to stay focused, stay positive, and keep telling your story. Leigh and her family are champions for the American Heart Association and for Leigh, I want to share Robby’s Story with you. Your prayers for her recovery are so very welcomed and, since right now, Leigh’s physical voice is quiet, I’m asking for all of you willing to be her voice to please share Robby’s Story also. Leigh’s love for her children is beyond measure and her determination to help Robby and others challenged with a heart disease or defect knows no bounds. She truly is an every day hero. Thank you for sharing Robby’s Story and thank you for praying for Leigh and her family.

Joy, the Little Dog that Conquered Fear

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February 9, 2009. Joy. Joy was one of 189 dogs seized from a breeder in Montana on December 30, 2008. For about 9 months, most of the dogs were housed in horse barns as the legal case made its way through the court. As with many of the dogs, fear was an issue that held Joy back from fully engaging in the opportunities presented to her . . . until one thing happened.

I earned her trust.

From December 30, 2008 – February 8, 2009, Joy dd not leave the 8 x 10 barn stall she shared with 2 other dogs — Love and Happy. But on February 9th (the picture is of this very moment), Joy moved toward the open door for the first time and watched me walk, play, and engage outside the stall with Love and Happy. When she was ready, I knew she would come to where I was standing a short distance from where she is in this picture.

And she did!

As the months went on Joy continued to conquer fear and prove to be one of my greatest life teachers of all time.

On August 14, 2009, Joy was taken from me and I’ve never seen her since. I think about her every day and have pleaded with those who took her from me to know where she is, but, to date, I do not.

The woman who took Joy died last month.

Through the torture of silence and never-ending tears, Joy lives in my heart.

Al Feldstein, My Friend

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I was blessed beyond measure to call Al Feldstein a friend. We enjoyed hours and hours of conversation at my gallery in Livingston, MT or on the phone or email. People came from all over to sit and talk with Al about his art, his years of being the editor at MAD Magazine, his years of military service, or his adventures at ComiCon. Al graciously held his audience captive with his ability to tell a story. Al was extraordinarily intelligent and deeply passionate. I loved talking history and politics with Al. He was a treasure chest of knowledge.

As Al’s health began to decline I spoke more with Michelle, Al’s extraordinary wife, when I would call. Our mutual love for animals and her respect for the friendship Al and I shared created an immediate bond between us for which I am eternally grateful.

Al Feldstein, you have always been and will forever be one of my heroes.

 

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G-DOG

G-DOG. What happens when a young, white Jesuit priest walks into the most violent Latino, Asian, and African-American gang neighborhoods in East LA? If that priest is Father Greg Boyle, a 70% success rate for having gang members swap violence for community.

And what’s his radical method?

Boundless, restorative love.

This documentary follows Father Greg or G-Dog as the homies call him, through a year in the life of Homeboy Industries, the largest, most successful gang intervention and rehab program in the U.S. In 1986, Father Greg was assigned to the poorest, most violent parish in East LA, Boyle Heights. With his belief that nothing stops a bullet like a job and his intense focus on jobs not jail for the kids he saw planning their funerals instead of their futures, he began building Homeboy Industries — a café, silkscreen shop, yoga studio, retail shop, catering service, tattoo removal, job training, anger management training, parent training, etc, business – in downtown LA. In the year the film memorializes, Father Greg and the homies face a tough economic decision about Homeboy Industries, but they face it together and with boundless, restorative love.

Father Greg saw a need in his community and he worked to meet that need. As a result, Homeboy Industries serves as an inspiration for helping to kids at risk in Toronto, Manchester, Hamburg, Rio de Janeiro, and many more communities.

It’s easy to see why a Jesuit priest would be so loved in one of the poorest communities in LA when you embrace the truth delivered in his commencement speech at Occidental College:

“So, I’m in a car with a homie named Manuel and we’re driving to give a talk and he gets a text and he looks at it and he kinda chuckles and I said, ‘What is it?’ And he goes, ‘Oh, it’s dumb. It’s from Snoopy back at the office.’

I said, ‘What’s it say?’

‘Oh, hey dog, it’s me Snoops. Yeah, they got my ass locked up at county jail. They’re charging me with being the ugliest vato in America. You have to come down right now. Show ‘em they got the wrong guy.’

I nearly swerved into oncoming traffic and then I realized that Manuel and Snoopy are enemies. They used to shoot bullets at one another. Now they shoot text messages. And there is a word for that and the word is kinship.

There is no longer us and them. It’s only us.

The measure of your compassion lies not in your service of those on the margins, but in your willingness to see yourself in kinship with them.

Oxi [Occidental College] is not the place you come to; it’s the place you go from. And you go from here to create a community of kinship so that God might recognize it. And good for you. And congratulations.” ~ Father Greg Boyle

G-Dog a brilliant film by Freida Lee Mock.

THE INVISIBLE WAR

THE INVISIBLE WAR. This truth driven documentary tells the story of a shocking number of extraordinarily brave women and men who were raped by either their fellow service men or superiors in the military and their courageous fight for justice.

BUT, in truth, it tells the story of so much more.

“A female U.S. soldier in a combat zone is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire. In fact, The Department of Defense estimates that in 2010 alone, there were more than 19,000 violent sex crimes in the U.S. military.” ~ The Invisible War

Many of the violent sex crimes happening in the U.S. military are not happening in combat zones, but rather in the United States of America.

As in every profession in which humans are present there will always be those who hold themselves above the law and abuse whatever power or authority they have. The United States military is no exception.

However, what seems to be the exception is how the law is applied to rapists in the U.S. military. And that is one of the truths this film confronts head on.

This Academy Award nominated film sheds light on a subject that has too long been kept in the dark.

“Currently, commanders who do not have legal training have the power to dismiss a case, set aside a guilty verdict, and return an attacker to the ranks. The Military Justice Improvement Act would get to the root of this problem by moving the decision-making on whether and how to prosecute serious offenses, like sexual assault, out of the chain of command, giving these decisions to trained, experienced military prosecutors.” ~This Is Personal Campaign

Fifty Senators have already pledged to support the act, but 60 total votes are needed to assure that it passes.

Today may be the day the Senate votes on the Military Justice Improvement Act. Do you know where your Senators stand on the issue?

To find out, click HERE. (Senator Cory Booker, who appears on this list, has now signed on to support the MJIA.)