Women's March: Connie Britton, Padma Lakshmi, Lea DeLaria and More on Why They're Rallying
"The best thing you can do is not stay silent," says Lakshmi. "It's not just about saying what's wrong, but it's about saying what should be and what's right."
On Friday, Donald Trump became the 45th president of the United States. On Saturday, Jan. 21, hundreds of thousands of women are marching in Washington, D.C., to send a message to America that they will hold the new president accountable for protecting their rights.
Notably absent from Trump's inauguration ceremony and concert were the slew of celebrities and performers that attended former President Barack Obama's inaugural activities. In contrast, the Women's March on Washington and sister demonstrations across the country, including at the Sundance Film Festival, will have a host of celebrities on hand to perform, speak and march.
"The best thing you can do is not stay silent," Padma Lakshmi, who is planning on marching in D.C., told The Hollywood Reporter, adding that she thinks that's one of Martin Luther King Jr.'s most important lessons. "It's not just about saying what's wrong, but it's about saying what should be and what's right."
She continued, "A lot of things that we took for granted and didn't really appreciate are going to go away. And they're going to go away unless enough people raise their voice and give their presence."
Connie Britton is marching at Sundance, and said she's excited that the demonstrations will be countrywide. "To me, this march is being led by women, but completely inclusive of everyone. I think it's really important that men are marching too. Women cross the lines of every single group that stands to get discriminated against."
"What I represent and what's important to me and what I stand for is not being represented by [Trump]," added Britton. "I'm not going to let that happen." Britton said she spoke with Gloria Steinem, who advised her that the way to be most effective in the fight for equality was "in movement and numbers."
The women who are marching are passionate about a variety of issues, including reproductive rights, racial equality, gender equality, LGBT rights, health care, immigration, the environment, education and voting rights. Celebrities who are protesting stress the need for unity and intersectional feminism. Intersectionality is a way of conceptualizing identity as the intersection of a variety of microidentities, including race, gender, sexual orientation and class.
"A tool of the rich white male — their major tool is to get all of us disenfranchised individuals to fight amongst each other," said Lea DeLaria, who will be attending the D.C. march alongside her Orange Is the New Black castmates. "That is how they maintain power. We all play the 'Who is more oppressed?' game, and they love it." DeLaria said it's important for everyone to recognize that "we are the ones being downtrodden — anyone who is not a straight, white, cisgender male. As long as we come together, we are a force to be reckoned with."
DeLaria, like the other female celebrities THR spoke to, said she knew she would march as soon as she heard about the event. She said she wants Trump to know "he has a formidable enemy in me," and she hopes the Women's March sends a message that, "We're not going to allow a fascist dictator to essentially have a coup over our country and take us back into the 18th century."
Writer Sarah Treem worked on the first season of House of Cards and joked that the show "basically feels like a documentary, at this point." The Affair showrunner said that, while the entertainment industry does not necessarily have to have an agenda at all times, she does think "we have a responsibility to reflect the culture back to itself." Treem added that Hollywood should "create television either in response to it, in opposition to it or a mirror to it, in some way. We need to engage with it, we cant just close our eyes."
Treem is planning on attending the march and said she sees it as an opportunity for women to become a collective again. She said she's recently been thinking about how "segregated and split" feminism has become. "You know what? Let's just come back together," said Treem. She said that there's a "catastrophe looming for the rights of all women, potentially," and women need to unify. "The president is one man, and there are many, many more of us."
Lakshmi, meanwhile, stressed the importance of both genders coming together for women's rights. "If you're not a feminist, you're bigoted," she said. "Being a feminist only means that everybody should have equal rights." Lakshmi added that she wanted to cover her daughter's ears multiple times throughout the election, and with Trump in office, she's worried that his administration will have "very long-reaching effects" that threaten not just her rights, but her daughter's.
If Lakshmi could give a message directly to President Trump, she would say, "Be careful because there are lots of people watching, and there are lots of people counting on him not to take this job lightly and not to take his own very narrow view of the world [to] shape policy for over 350 million Americans."
Lakshmi, Britton, Treem and DeLaria all stressed the importance not only of marching, but of staying engaged with social activism. They all said that people feeling worried or threatened that the Trump administration will affect their rights should speak out, call their local and federal government leaders and donate to causes they believe in. "You must always look evil in the face and call it evil," said DeLaria. "Your personal integrity is a gift that's been given to you that you should always always utilize and maintain."
"This is a really great opportunity for people who maybe have ever protested before, who maybe have never thought about standing up and making a statement about what they believe in," said Britton. She said at the various Women's Marches across the country, participants can find like-minded people and a platform to speak out.
The D.C. march will be held on Jan. 21 at 3rd Street and Independence Avenue, SW. The rally begins at 10 a.m. ET, and the march will begin around 1:15 p.m. ET, running until 4 p.m. ET.
Gloria Steinem, America Ferrera, Janet Mock, Scarlett Johansson, Ashley Judd and Angela Davis are among the list of expected speakers, with performances planned by Janelle Monae, Maxwell, Angelique Kidjo, Samantha Ronson and more.
Additionally, Patricia Arquette, Olivia Wilde, Cher, Uzo Aduba, Lupita Nyong'o, Julianne Moore, Katy Perry, Amy Schumer, Lena Dunham, Zendaya, Constance Wu and Hari Nef are some of the Hollywood stars expected at the march in D.C. and at sister demonstrations across the country.
Read what celebrities planning on attending had to say below.
Billy Porter: "I believe that the results of the 2016 election have reminded us that nobody wins. Ever. And that we must always show up to fight for what we believe in and lend a hand to those in need for as long as we have breath in our bodies!”
Nora Kirkpatrick: "I'm filming this march in virtual reality for Facebook 360 and RYOT, because I want future generations to be able to see and feel the power in standing up for your rights. This march is a chance for women to stake their claim and say that no decisions will be made for us or without us, and to show that we are a force to be reckoned with. I'm marching because there is no other option."