Justin Trudeau, Chelsea Clinton Call for Gender Equality at WE Day UN
"Everyone in this hall today has the opportunity to be part of achieving these global goals," Clinton said at the theater at Madison Square Garden.
"How many of you are feminists out there?" Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asked a crowd of enthusiastic middle and high schoolers at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday.
The students were gathered for WE Day, a youth empowerment event in which young people are encouraged the change the world. There is a network of events around the world, and this particular event in New York City adopted the moniker "WE Day UN," as the United Nations was gathering just across town.
The crowd erupted into shrieks and cheers in response to Prime Minister Trudeau's question. Standing next to his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau onstage, he continued: "It is so important that we all understand it's not only that women can be feminists, it's the men should be feminists, as well. Being a feminist for me means recognizing that men and women should be, can be, must be equal and, secondly, that we still have an awful lot of work to do."
Hosted by Skai Jackson and Jordan Fisher, the event featured world leaders like Trudeau, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and former Irish President Mary Robinson, who joined celebrity guests Chelsea Clinton, Whoopi Goldberg, Laurie Hernandez, Grace VanderWaal and Jessie Reyez.
Gender equality was just one of the many issues the speakers advocated for. There are 17 objectives that are a part of the UN's Global Goals week, including no poverty, clean water and sanitation, good health and well-being, and climate action.
"Everyone in this hall today has the opportunity to be part of achieving these global goals," Clinton said. She also spoke out about the Clinton Foundation's work on climate change, noting that they were working on helping small island nations develop renewable energy sources, including those affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
"Those of you who are here today have a particular role to play in helping your families continue to make climate-smart choices at home, helping your schools and your school districts to make climate-smart choices in your schools, helping to continue to put this on the agenda of lawmakers, particularly important here in the United States where we continue to struggle with the consensus that the rest of the world has reached that human activity is helping to fuel global warming and climate change," Clinton said.
13 Reasons Why star Brandon Larracuente spoke to the crowd about the importance of drug counseling, as part of event sponsor Walgreens' "It Ends With Us" campaign to educate young people about opioid addiction. Larracuente had a close friend die from opioids and wants to use his platform from the series to encourage young people to take control.
"I was actually in Miami at a premiere and a young lady came up to me and she said, 'Thank you for saving my life,' and that in itself meant the world to me because I never knew that by acting on a TV series you could save someone's life," he told The Hollywood Reporter.
WE co-founders and brothers Craig and Marc Kielburger and the many guests and speakers continued to encourage and rev up the students for change, but 12-year old Christian, a middle school student from New York, said it best when he told The Hollywood Reporter: "You can make a difference! Don't think you can't, because you can!"