Written By: - Date published: 3:58 pm, January 21st, 2018 - 46 comments
Categories: gender, human rights, International, patriarchy, political alternatives, Politics, racism, Social issues, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, vision - Tags: Viola Davis, Women's March
I’ve no doubt there will be various analyses and commentaries on the Women’s Marches that have taken place across the US and elsewhere. This post isn’t making any commentary. This post is merely presenting video of Viola Davis giving a wide ranging, most powerful and no holds barred, speech at the Women’s March in Los Angeles. Sadly, it appears to end before she had actually finished speaking. So if anyone finds a full length version, I’ll happily swap it in.
In the words of my fellow American Malcolm X, I’m going to make it plain.
In 1877, America, the greatest country on this planet, put laws in place called the Jim Crow Laws. And the Jim Crow Laws restricted the rights to quadroons, octaroons, blacks, Hispanics, Indians, Malays:- restricted medical, restricted relationships, restricted education, restricted life.
It told us that we were “less than”. And it came on the heels of the 13th Amendment. It came on the heels of 55 individuals, great Americans, writing the greatest document called the Constitution of the United States saying “We, the people.”
Now the reason why those destructive laws came into place, I think can be greatly described by Martin Luther King.
And what he said about time is, he said – “I’m not ready to wait a hundred or two hundred years for things to change. That I think, actually, that time is neutral. That it can either be used constructively or destructively. That human progress rarely rolls in on inevitability. It is through human dedication and effort that we move forward.
And then when we don’t work, what happens is that time actually becomes an ally to the primitive forces of social stagnation. And the guardians of the status quo are in their oxygen tents keeping the old order alive. And so that time needs to be helped, by every single moment, doing right.”
And the reason why these Jim Crow Laws were in place, that stifled your rights and my 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 that 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.
One out of every five women will be sexually assaulted and raped before she reaches the age of eighteen; one out of six boys. If you are a woman of colour and you are raped before you reach the age of eighteen, then you are 66% more likely to be sexually assaulted again.
70% of girls who are sex trafficked are girls of colour. 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.
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.
Written on the Statue of Liberty is ‘Come, come you tireless, poor, yearning to breathe free’. To breathe free. Every single day, your job as an American citizen is not just to fight for your rights, it’s to fight for the rights of every individual that is taking a breath, who’s heart is pumping and breathing on this earth.
And like the originators of the meetoo’s, the Fannie Hamer’s, the Ricy Taylor’s who in 1944 was gang raped by six white men. And she spoke up. Rosa Parks fought for her rights. She was silenced. To the Tarana Burke’s to the originators, to the first women to speak out. It cost them something.
Nothing and no-one can be great without a cost.
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 into the voting booth. That’s what allows me to listen to the women who are still in silence. That’s what allows me… even to become a citizen on this planet is the fact that we are here to connect. That we are here as 324 million people living on this earth to know that every day that we breathe and we live that we’ve got to bring up every one, with us.
I stand in solidarity with all women who raise their hands because I know that it was not easy. And my hope for the future, my hope, and I do hope, that we never go back. That it’s not just about clapping your hands and screaming and shouting every time someone says something that sounds good.
It’s about keeping it rolling once you go home.