First lady Melania Trump, in a rare speech Wednesday, urged women to become empowered and stand up against violence like the 13 women of diverse backgrounds being honored by the State Department.
“As leaders, we must continue to work towards gender empowerment and respect for people from all backgrounds and ethnicities, remembering always that we are all members of one race, the human race. Each one of us is uniquely different,” Trump said during a ceremony recognizing 13 women at the 2017 Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Awards.
The award, now in its 11th year, “honors those who have demonstrated exceptional courage, strength, and leadership in acting to advance the lives of others across the globe,” according to a State Department release. They overcame injustice, including domestic violence, environmental disaster, gender bias and acid attacks.
On April 1, the honorees will travel across the United States through an International Visitor Leadership Program.
“As you go forward, remember their journeys as you push ahead and strive to bring about a better community, a better country, and a better world in the ongoing fight for right over might,” she said.
“We must continue once again to shine the light on the horrendous atrocities taking place in neighborhoods around the corner and around the globe where innocent families are crying out to live in safety. We must continue to fight injustice in all of its forms, whatever scale or shape it takes in our lives.”
She noted the world is better off with strong women.
“Wherever women are diminished, the entire world is diminished with them,” she said. “However, wherever women are empowered, towns and villages, schools and economies, are empowered and together, we are all made strong with them.”
Trump did not mention her husband or his administration during her 10-minute speech.
During the campaign, Trump she said one of her focuses as first lady would be to combat cyberbullying.
She occasionally appeared on the campaign trail and spoke during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
Trump, who is living in New York with son Barron, 11, hosted a reception with senators and spouses at the White House on Tuesday night. She has said she plans to move to Washington when Barron’s school year ends in June.
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