On the one-year anniversary of the first Women’s March, men and women took to the streets in Canada, the US and around the world to protest gender inequality and unconstitutional sanctions enacted by the Trump administration.
Once again, the Los Angeles, New York and Sundance marches included many high-profile celebrities hitting the streets to voice their concerns over the current climate and call for a much needed and long overdue change to the way women are supported and heard in society.
Actors Jane Fonda, Tessa Thompson and Chloe Grace Moretz showed their support at the snowy Sundance film festival.
Broad City’s Ilana Glazer, Abbi Jacobson, Paul W. Downs, and writer Lucia Aniello along with Janet Mock, Whoopi Goldberg and Larry Wilmore took to the streets of New York to march on Saturday and give speeches.
An emotional Drew Barrymore also marched in New York, urging those around her to ‘fight like a girl.’
As for the Los Angeles march, a number of celebs hit the streets with signs and support. Adele marched alongside Jennifer Lawrence and Cameron Diaz, posting a message on her Instagram, remarking on all the powerful women in her life and calling for power to the peaceful.
The most influential people in my life have always been women. My family, my friends, my teachers, my colleagues, and my idols. I am obsessed with all the women in my life. I adore them and need them more and more every day. I am so grateful to be a woman, I wouldn’t change it for the world. I hope I’m not only defined by my gender though. I hope I’m defined by my input to the world, my ability to love and to have empathy. To raise my son to be a a good man alongside the good man who loves me for everything I am and am not. I want what’s best for people, I think we all do. We just can’t agree on what that is. Power to the peaceful, power to the people x #womensmarch2018
Many actors used their platforms to make impassioned speeches during Saturday’s march, including Eva Longoria, Sarah Hyland, Olivia Wilde and Yvette Nicole Brown. Scarlett Johansson appeared to be calling out James Franco–who has been accused of sexual assault by five women, following his win for Best Actor at this year’s Golden Globe Awards– in her speech. Said Johannson, “In light of the recent revelations of abuse of power and sexual harassment and the question of consent over coercion, I find myself pensive, taking time and digging deep to understand where we are and how we got here. My mind baffles, how could a person publicly stand by an organization that helps to provide support to victims of sexual assault, while privately preying on people who have no power? I want my pin back, by the way.”
Natalie Portman also made headlines with her deeply personal speech about the sexual harassment she endured after starring in her first film The Professional when she was 12-years-old. “A countdown was started on my local radio show to my 18th birthday — euphemistically the date that I would be legal to sleep with,” said Portman. “Movie reviewers talked about my budding breasts in reviews. I understood very quickly, even as a 13-year-old, that if I were to express myself sexually I would feel unsafe and that men would feel entitled to discuss and objectify my body to my great discomfort.”
“At 13 years old, the message from our culture was clear to me. I felt the need to cover my body and to inhibit my expression and my work in order to send my own message to the world that I’m someone worthy of safety and respect,” said Portman. “The response to my expression, from small comments about my body to more threatening deliberate statements, served to control my behavior through an environment of sexual terrorism.”
Actor Olivia Munn, who has come forward with sexual assault allegations about director Brett Ratner, encouraged women to be one another’s allies. “Refrain from judgment. Be the rock of understanding. Be the well of empathy,” said Munn. “We all have the power to make sure that our daughters, nieces, granddaughters, great-granddaughters grow up with the mentality that if you come for one of us — you come for all of us.”
As for Viola Davis, the Emmy, Oscar and Golden Globe winning actor gave one of the most stirring speeches of the March. Opening her remarks with a history lesson in slavery in America, Jim Crow laws, and the 13th Amendment, Davis said “The reason why Jim Crow laws were in place, that stifled my rights and your rights, is because we fell asleep. We fall asleep when we’re moving ahead and we don’t look to the left and right and see we’re not including people in this move ahead. Because really, at the end of the day, we only move forward when it doesn’t cost us anything. But I’m here today saying that no one and nothing can be great unless it costs you something.”
Reading out truly sobering statistics, Davis continued, saying, “One out of every five women will be sexually assaulted and raped before she reaches the age of 18. One out of six boys. If you are a woman of color and you are raped before you reach the age of 18, then you are 66 percent more likely to be sexually assaulted again. Seventy percent of girls who are sex-trafficked are girls of color. They are coming out of the foster-care system, they are coming out of poverty. It is a billion-dollar industry. When they go into the sex-trafficking business — and they call it a business, trust me — more than likely, they are gang raped.”
The actor continued, saying “I am speaking today not just for the “Me Too’s” because, I was a “Me Too,” but when I raise my hand, I am aware of all the women who are still in silence. The women who are faceless. The women who don’t have the money and don’t have the constitution and who don’t have the confidence and who don’t have the images in our media that gives them a sense of self-worth enough to break their silence that’s rooted in the shame of assault. That’s rooted in the stigma of assault.”
Davis spoke of her own assault, saying “Listen, I am always introduced as an award-winning actor. But my testimony is one of poverty. My testimony is one of being sexually assaulted and very much seeing a childhood that was robbed from me. And I know that every single day, when I think of that, I know that the trauma of those events are still with me today. And that’s what drives me to the voting booth. That’s what allows me to listen to the women who are still in silence. That’s what allows me to even become a citizen on this planet, is the fact that we are here to connect. That we are as 324 million people living on this earth, to know that every day, we breathe and we live. That we got to bring up everyone with us.”
You can watch Davis’ full speech below and we recommend you do. Truly a heartbreaking, chilling, and empowering message from one of today’s most celebrated artists.