Last year, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle made a high-profile appearance at the NAACP Image Awards, along with Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland, to receive the President’s Award for their public service connected to voting rights and anti-racism and announce the beginning of a long term collaboration between the legacy civil rights organization and their nonprofit, Archewell Foundation. This year’s awards took place on Saturday, and though Meghan and Harry were not in attendance, their collaboration with the organization still continues. On Monday, Archewell announced that the 2023 edition of the NAACP-Archewell Digital Civil Rights Award is going to Nabiha Syed, a media lawyer and the CEO of the digital journalism nonprofit The Markup.
In a joint statement, Meghan and Harry connected Syed’s work to their original motivations for working with the civil rights organization. “When we founded this award with the NAACP, we wanted to highlight and uplift people across the country who are transforming the digital world for the better,” it read. “Nabiha Syed is doing just that, harnessing her own expertise to push for safer, more inclusive online communities.”
Syed, a Marshall Scholar who also helped found a media law clinic at Yale Law School, is an acclaimed media lawyer known for her work with Buzzfeed. In 2019, she became an executive at The Markup, a nonprofit journalism startup focused on the impact of technology on society. In 2022, they released a high-profile investigation of potential data sharing between Facebook parent company Meta and many of the country’s largest tax preparation companies, which led to a class action lawsuit on behalf of consumers in December.
In their statement, Meghan and Harry praised the Markup’s work. “Nabiha and her team are shedding light on some of the most critical issues of our time and in doing so, empowering all of us to reclaim some of our most basic freedoms: truth, safety, and choice,” they wrote. “She’s an inspiration to us and so many others, and we’re proud to support her incredibly important work.”
Meghan and Harry first became involved in advocacy for web safety in 2020, when they joined with activist group Color of Change to join in a lobbying campaign against hate speech. In their recent Netflix docuseries, Harry & Meghan, they also opened up about their own experiences with online harassment and mental health.
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