Last Sunday evening, some of Hollywood’s greatest stars gathered for the ACLU of Southern California’s annual Bill of Rights Awards Gala. Among those who were honored were Viola Davis, Gina Rodriguez, Jane Fonda and even Colin Kaepernick.
As the Hollywood Reporter shares, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback received the Eason Monroe Courageous Courage Award, in addition to a roaring applause. “He’s been viciously and unfairly criticized,” said Hector Villagra, the executive director of the ACLU. “He’s been called a traitor because too many people in this country confuse dissent for disloyalty. He took a stand knowing some would threaten him and he has had his life threatened, which is why we are profoundly honored to have him here [and] we didn’t publicize his presence tonight.”
As Kaepernick took the stage, audience members jumped to their feet out of respect. “We must confront systematic oppression as a doctor would a disease,” he said in his speech. “You identify it, you call it out, you treat it and you defeat it. We all have an obligation, no matter the risk and regardless of reward, to stand up for our fellow men and women who are being oppressed with the understanding that human rights cannot be compromised. In the words of Frederick Douglas, ‘If there is a no struggle, there is no progress.’”
Kaepernick isn’t the only star using his platform to address social issues. When Viola Davis, the star of How To Get Away With Murder, took the stage, she reflected on what it was like growing up in abject party — and vowed to do something about it.
First, she recalled a heartbreaking story about her father. “He leaves the hospital,” said Davis. “He walked three miles back home. He sits for another three days before gangrene start setting in and he walked back to the hospital and they finally admitted him. That is the dignity being taken away from you when you don’t have any money. You don’t have access to healthcare. You have no food. I scurried in garbage bins for food. I have fallen asleep within 10 minutes of being in school because I had no food. I would walk to school in shoes that had holes in the bottom, so by the time I got to school, I literally was basically walking in my socks.”
The actress knows first-hand what it is like sufficing on little to nothing. It is because of this she vowed to work and fight for the 46 million Americans who live in poverty. “I have two mottos for 2017 and they are, ‘I’m doing the best I can’ and ‘I’m gonna leave it all on the floor,’” Davis said.
Jane Fonda pitched in her two cents, as well, and threw in a few remarks concerning Kaepernick. After receiving the Justice & Equality Award, the Grace & Frankie star stated that she was proud of the professional football player. “Colin,” she said at the beginning of her remarks, “you are woke!” She ended her speech by saying, “Keep kneeling until you can stand up!”
Even though the political system in the US in a state of turmoil, it is heartening to know there are people with a platform who are willing to use their celebrity to change the world for the better. What are your thoughts? Please comment below and share this news!