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Megan Rapinoe has had one hell of a year: She dominated at the World Cup (scoring the most goals and casually earning the award for best player), became the first openly gay woman to pose for Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue, and fought tirelessly to keep the issue of women’s equality in the news. Her epic victory lap made one thing crystal clear: The age of women demurring in their success is over.
Rapinoe’s in-your-face triumph is already having an outsize impact when it comes to fighting inequality and being unapologetically yourself. “Out and proud, Megan is a role model for LGBTQ youth and an ambassador for the community,” U.S. Women’s National Team teammate Ali Krieger said as she and Ashlyn Harris introduced the 2019 Glamour Women of the Year honoree. “She’s certainly inspired the two of us to be more public with our relationship and to live boldly as our authentic selves.”
Added Harris, “It’s incredibly rare to see a player who’s got that kind of technical skill along with the leadership that our team needed. But Megan has something even more—leadership our country needed. Her mission may have been amplified this year with the World Cup, but Megan has always fought against inequality and discrimination. That includes gender equity, pay equity and racial justice.”
To present Rapinoe with her award, Glamour turned to the people she’s had the greatest impact on: young women in sports. Harlem’s Mott Hall girls’ soccer team from America SCORES, which supports youth with a combination of soccer, poetry, and service learning, were there on the WOTY stage. And a young fan, Mia, read a poem written just for Rapinoe. “We are all human beings,” she said. “And we all deserve to be treated like one.”
Megan Rapinoe accepted her Glamour 2019 Woman of the Year Award with—what else—her characteristic swagger. Read the whole speech, below.
“I first want to thank Glamour for this incredible award, but more than that, for choosing to celebrate a particular kind of strong woman this year, redefining what a ‘glamorous’ woman really means, reflective in all the incredible honorees this year. So thank you so much to Glamour.
“And just, like, shout-out to women this year. Every woman! We’ re just killing it the the whole year. So shout-out to just women in general.
“I feel like I have to take this opportunity to thank the person for whom I don’t feel like I would be here without. Someone whose courage and bravery was so bright and so bold. A person filled with conviction, unafraid of the consequences because he knew, it really wasn&apost about playing it safe: It was about doing what is necessary and backing down to exactly nobody.
“Caring is cool. Lending your platform to others is cool.
“So while I’m enjoying all of this unprecedented—and, frankly, a little bit uncomfortable—attention and personal success, in large part due to my activism off the field, Colin Kaepernick is still effectively banned from the NFL for kneeling during the national anthem in protest of known and systematic police brutality against people of color, known and systematic racial injustice, and known and systematic white supremacy. I see no clearer example of that system being alive and well than me standing before you right now. It would be a slap in the face to Colin, and to so many other faces, not to acknowledge, and for me personally, to work relentlessly to dismantle that system that benefits some over the detriment of others, and frankly is quite literally tearing us apart in this country.
“While we all have injustices we are facing—for me personally, a very public fight with our [U.S. Soccer] Federation over why we don’t deserve to be paid equally; some people even say we do our job better. I don’t know! It’s crazy!—I still know in my heart of hearts and my bones that I can do more. And that we can do more. And I know that because we just have to. We must. It’s imperative that we do more.
“My mom, who&aposs here today, looking stunning, by the way—shout-out to mom—impressed upon me and my twin sister at a very young age, ‘You ain’t shit ’cause your good at sports. You ain’t shit ’cause you&aposre popular. You’re gonna be a good person. You’re gonna be kind. And you’re gonna do the right thing. You’re gonna stand up for yourself, always. You’re gonna stand up for each other, always. And you’re damn sure going to stand up for other people. Always.
“She taught us that in kindness and in caring and in giving a shit and sharing—that’s abundance. That’s the kind of culture we want to live in. I feel like we live in this scarcity type culture; one of my best friends always says that. That’s not the world I want to live in. I think we can move on from losing alone to the belief in winning together.
“With that abundance in mind, I want to reimagine what it means to be successful, what it means to have influence, what it means to have power, and what that all looks like.
“I’ve gained this incredible platform in such a short period of time, but I’m not going to stand on it alone. I refuse to do that. There’s going to be ladders on every side, all over the place. And I’m not going to act like it wasn’t Colin Kaepernick, Tarana Burke and the #MeToo Movement, Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza, and Opal Tometi of Black Lives Matter, the women of Time’s Up, Harvey Milk, Gloria Steinem, Audre Lorde, Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, and the injustices that so many others face that have put me in this very position. And I’m not going to act like my whiteness has nothing to do with me standing before you now. I don’t want to live in that kind of world. I don’t think that kind of world is the world that suits everybody and is going to move us forward in the direction that we need to go.
“We’ve got to switch the game up.
“Caring is cool.
“Lending your platform to others is cool.
“Sharing your knowledge and your success and your influence and your power is cool.
“Giving all the fucks is cool. Doing more is cool.
“I don’t need to say that to all the other women who are being honored tonight. Everyone is doing that. But to everyone else in this room, we have such an incredible opportunity to redefine what power and influence and success looks like. From the looks of it, this looks like a room full of powerful and influential and successful people. So share that platform. Throw your ladders down. It’s our time. We’re ready for this. And it needs to happen. This is such a pivotal movement for us. There’s so much momentum, but we have to move forward and we have to be better. So everybody: We have to do more. We’re here. We&aposre ready. Everyone’s ready to do more? Good!
“Thank you so much for this amazing award. Thank you, everyone.”
Find out more about Glamour&aposs 2019 Women of the Year here.
Originally Appeared on Glamour