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Meryl Streep’s Golden Globes speech about Donald Trump matters

Meryl Streep was this year’s recipient of the Cecil B. Demille award at the Golden Globes. After breaking countless records and delivering a career’s worth of iconic performances, it was time for Streep to rack up another honor. She didn’t waste a single moment; her speech was easily the most show stopping moment of the night (outside of Andrew Garfield and Ryan Reynold’s making out).

She was introduced by her friend and former co-star Viola Davis (another winner last night). Without even saying his name, or raising her voice above a whisper, Streep delivered an incredible take down of the president-elect that began by highlighting the diversity amongst the actors in the room last night:

“But who are we and, you know, 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,  R.I. Sarah Paulson was born in Florida, raised by a single mom in Brooklyn. Sarah Jessica Parker was one of seven or eight kids from Ohio, Amy Adams was born in Vicenza, Veneto, 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 Lon – no, in Ireland, I do believe, and she’s here nominated for playing a small-town girl from Virginia. Ryan Gosling, like all 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.”

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There was a serious tone in Streep’s voice as she delivered these words, but her seriousness evolved into getting visibly teared up onstage as she recounted the way Trump mocked a disabled reporter during the primaries:

“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, it was – there’s 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 and power and the capacity to fight back. It, it kind of broke my heart when I saw it and I still can’t get it out 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 kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing.”

Streep ended her speech by then highlighting the importance of the press. “We need the principled press to hold power to account, to call them on the carpet for every outrage… 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, ’cause we’re going to need them going forward and they’ll need us to safeguard the truth.”

Related: Andrew Garfield and Ryan Reynolds made out at last night’s Golden Globes

But perhaps the most rousing, and important moment of Meryl’s speech was when she spoke about “privilege.” By highlighting her own privilege as one of Hollywood’s most successful actresses and a white, straight cisgender woman, Streep did the most important thing she could do: she used her platform for the benefit of others without taking credit or responsibility. Instead, she urged everyone watching her to do whatever it is they can to protect the truth, and not stoop to Trump’s level. She exposed him for who he was without even saying his name. That’s power.

Going forward, we will need the press. It’s true; we need them to hold Trump, Kellyanne Conway and the rest of his administration responsible for the constant and never ending lies and mistruths they spout by the hour. But we’ll need people like Streep, and even Viola Davis who gave her own powerful speech concerning Trump and his harmful effects on America.

Bless these women for holding their heads high and not backing down. Clearly their efforts are working:

Watch the speech in full below.

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