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Oscar winners plug their pro labor causes

Brian Young's picture
Feb 23, 2015

Last night, the Oscars took a turn towards advocacy as the winners, many of whom are union members, used the 1 billion viewers to talk about their recent causes. After winning the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress,  Patricia Arquette called for equal pay for women.  During her stirring speech she said “We have fought for everybody else’s equal rights. It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America!” The speech had Meryl Streep and Jenifer Lopez jumping out of their seat to applaud her. Arquette was referencing the Fair Pay Act which is currently stuck in congress.   Next came the Best Documentary category, traditionally a hotbed for directors to speak out about their favorite causes.  This year was no different as CitizenFour, a documentary made up of a series of interviews with Edward Snowden about the NSA wiretapping Americans, where director Laura Poitras spoke about the need for a free and open media and about the importance of checks and balances in protecting our democracy.  This film was made with the help of Glenn Greenwald, a reporter for the Guardian who broke the story of the Edward Snowden leaks and the NSA wiretapping.  Later in the night, John Legend and the rapper Common preformed the song Glory from the movie Selma.  After their performance, the song won the Oscar for best song.  John Legend and Common made sure to use this podium to speak up for the important issues that Dr. King fought for.  John Legend reminded us that the Voting Rights Act that Dr. King fought so hard for is being eroded after a Supreme Court decision in 2013.  He also declared, “Selma is now, because the struggle for justice is right now.” Common also stated that he hoped the spirit of the bridge in Selma would continue to inspire people around the world to fight for freedom and a better life. 

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