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Moonlight‘s Mahershala Ali took the stage to accept an award and speak out against Donald Trump’s immigration ban.
Upon winning the SAG Award for best male actor in a supporting role for Moonlight, he told the crowd, “when we get caught up in the minutiae and the details that make us all different, I think there’s two ways of seeing that. There’s the opportunity to see the texture of that person, the characteristics that make them unique, and then there’s an opportunity to go to war about it and say that this person is different from me, I don’t like you, let’s battle.”
“I’m a Muslim,” said the actor proudly, adding that his mother, an ordained minister, “didn’t do backflips when I called her to tell her I converted.”
But now, he says, they “put things to the side” and “we love each other.”
Ali’s speech came amid growing protests against Trump’s executive order and travel ban. Trump’s executive order bans citizens of several Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. for the next 90 days, while suspending the admission of all refugees for 120 days. The ban includes immigrants from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Sudan, Somalia and Yemen.
As protests grew in airports across the country, the White House defended the executive order with a statement that also took aim at the media’s coverage of the ban thus far. “America is a proud nation of immigrants and we will continue to show compassion to those fleeing oppression, but we will do so while protecting our own citizens and border,” read the statement. “America has always been the land of the free and home of the brave. We will keep it free and keep it safe, as the media knows, but refuses to say.”
The SAG Awards were handed out Sunday night at the Shrine Exposition Center in Los Angeles.
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