During a rare public appearance, First Lady Melania Trump honored 13 brave women at the State Department’s 2017 International Women of Courage Awards. The wife of President Donald Trump spoke about the importance of raising awareness for the injustices women face every day around the globe.
“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 10-minute speech.
“We must continue once again to shine a light on the horrendous atrocities taking place around the corner and around the globe,” she added. “We must continue to fight injustice in all its forms, in whatever scale or shape it takes in our lives. Together, we must declare that the era of allowing brutality against women and children is over.”
After the speech, Trump personally handed out awards to the 12 recipients, notes CNN.
The women honored have fought for women’s rights around the globe. The honorees included Saadet Ozkan, who fights for child abuse victims in Turkey; Malebogo Molefhe of Botswana, who works for her country’s Ministry of Education and was nearly killed by an ex-boyfriend in 2009; Sister Carolin Tahhan Fachakh, who is helping victims of the Syrian Civil War; and Natalia Ponce de Leon of Colombia, who established a foundation to help those burned by acid after she was attacked herself in 2014.
“Their lives remind us of the boundless capacity of the human spirit when guided by moral clarity and desire to do good,” Trump said.
Since becoming the First Lady, Trump has rarely been seen, as she lives in New York with her son Barron. She is expected to move to Washington D.C. permanently after Barron’s school year ends, but she will be seen at the Easter Egg Roll next month. On Tuesday, she also attended a reception for senators at the White House with President Trump.
Trump only recently began setting up her staff. Stephanie Grisham was hired to be her communications director, while Lindsay Reynolds is her chief of staff.
Trump’s decision to stay in New York while her son completes the school year has been met with wide criticism because of the extra security she requires around Trump Tower. CBS News reports that the New York Police Department has estimated that it costs between $127,000 and $146,000 to protect Trump and Barron. A Change.org petition asking Trump to move out of the city or pay security expenses herself has reached over 200,000 supporters.
See photos of First Lady Melania Trump and some of the inspiring women who were honored at the Women of Courage ceremony.