Why Michelle Obama and Beyoncé are standing up for #62MillionGirls

When the National Zoo revealed last week that its adorable new panda cub had been named Bei Bei by First Lady Michelle Obama and Chinese First Lady Peng Liyuan, there was no shortage of rumors that the name was a tribute to Beyoncé. And, as it turns out, people weren’t too far off, because the First Lady has been inspired by Queen Bey — and recently recruited the songstress to help her introduce an amazing new initiative.

“I’d like for you all to give it up for the First Lady,” Beyoncé said before a crowd of 60,000 at this weekend’s Global Citizen Festival.

Accordingly, the audience went truly wild as two of the most iconic women of our time embraced onstage. As it turns out, Mrs. Obama was there to introduce the world to #62MillionGirls, an effort designed to make education available to the millions of young girls unable to access quality schooling.

“Right now, more than 62 million girls worldwide are out of school,” Mrs. Obama said. “As I’ve traveled around the world, I have met so many of these girls and they are so bright and so determined to make something of themselves. . .These girls are our girls and I simply cannot walk away from them.”

From there, she encouraged the crowd to Tweet or Instagram a black and white picture of themselves with a caption on what they learned in school, accompanied by the hashtag #62MillionGirls. The enthusiastic crowd agreed to help spur the new initiative and were joined by a host of celebrity supporters, including Mindy Kaling, Kerry Washington, and Stephen Colbert.

“When a girl receives a quality education, she is more likely to earn a decent living, raise a healthy, educated family, and improve the quality of life for herself, her family, and her community,” reads the #62MillionGirls website. “When girls aren’t given the chance to realize their potential, the whole world loses out.”

To learn more about #62MillionGirls and add your own story to the site’s “Yearbook,” head to 62milliongirls.com and voice your support. And yes, upload your own picture and story to social media with the hashtag #62MillionGirls.

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[Images via Twitter and Instagram]