Hollywood’s Accountability Revolution

For decades, Hollywood has been a place where people go to chase their dreams and make it to the silver screen. Unfortunately, because people are so desperate to make it in Hollywood, there has been a creepy underbelly of Hollywood behavior preying on vulnerable actors, producers, writers, and everyone in between.

Allegations of sexual assault in Hollywood have come up every now and again, but after the stunning (in both number and detail) accusations against Harvey Weinstein, victims of sexual assault throughout Hollywood have been given a platform to speak out against their predators.

It seems like every day we are hearing stories about another powerful person in Hollywood abusing that power – from Kevin Spacey to George Takei to Louis C.K.; celebrities we once viewed as relatable and lovable are now finally showing their true colors. Thanks to the bravery of the people willing to come out, we are getting a better picture as to the huge issues present in Hollywood, and how we might be able to fix them going forward.

For the longest time, people in power were able to leverage situations like auditions and closed-door meetings to assault aspiring actors, models, and other Hollywood employees. Even prominent actors, and strong male actors like Terry Crews, were not immune to the receiving end of inappropriate actions from Hollywood executives.

Now that everyone’s story is public, we can create safer situations for people in Hollywood who are just trying to do their jobs. If we are able to get the offenders out of positions of power (and hopefully out of Hollywood altogether), and change the system so that offenders are penalized instead of protected, we can make Hollywood the dream work location that we currently envision it as.

As activists in Los Angeles, it is our job to help the rights of all of Los Angeles’ oppressed. Even if they work in the film industry, and even if they are rich and famous, we owe it to all victims of sexual harassment in Hollywood to change the industry in every way possible to keep more people safe. Let’s keep those in power accountable for their actions.

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Celebrities Who Have Been Arrested For Protesting

We should be thankful for the countless people who have fought protesting for our rights. Many of those people include a number of Hollywood social justice warriors (and of course they fight for a number of other causes as well). They have the money, power, and influence to do things that not all of us can, and many of them have been arrested for protesting in order to fight for many important causes. Here are a few of the celebrities who have been arrested for protesting.

The Dakota Access Pipeline is still fresh in our minds. Shailene Woodley was arrested while protesting its construction on the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s reservation. The tribe explained that the pipeline will destroy grounds sacred to it, while others worry over its threat to the water supply in the area. Woodley was arrested alongside many others, but was promptly released from the Morton County Jail in North Dakota.

Who doesn’t love George Clooney? He’s living proof that how old you are doesn’t make a difference to success. You can do whatever you like at whatever age you like if you take the time to try. A humanitarian situation developing in Sudan in 2012 led to his protest and arrest. He described the continued starving, raping, and killing of citizens by the Khartoum government. He was arrested at the Sudanese Embassy in Washington D.C. for his part in the protest, but his efforts did not go unnoticed.

When West African immigrant Amadou Diallo was shot and killed by New York police in 1999, Susan Sarandon and 219 others were arrested while protesting outside the NY police headquarters. This shooting is especially relevant today, as the Black Lives Matter organization continues to grow and inspire others to stand up to police who are routinely pardoned for the killing of African American citizens.

Woody Harrelson is known for many things, and perhaps one of the grandest is one of the, well, grandest. In 1996 he scaled the Golden Gate Bridge to prove a point: the redwoods are home to millennia-old ecosystems that are unique to themselves, and they should be protected at any cost. At the time, a 60,000 acre redwood forest in Northern California was in jeopardy. Harrelson and a number of other environmentalists were arrested after their protest was completed.

Lucy Lawless, best known for her stunning roles in the TV shows Xena and Spartacus and a number of movies, is also known for her continued participation in the fight to save the environment. This New Zealand native was arrested in February of 2012 after she and others protested the drilling of oil from a ship in the Arctic. She eventually pled guilty to burglary, and was sentenced to a $547 fine and 120 hours of community service. We’re sure she found it a small price to pay for fighting to save the world.

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What is Civic Engagement?

The definition of civic engagement remains a mystery to the vast majority of U.S. citizens, because most of us don’t participate in either the political processes that govern us (aside from sometimes voting, and even that could stand to use more bodies), or our communities. Civic engagement is the act of promoting the wellbeing of everyone we engage with inside of our communities. It’s the quest to discover and promote skills and learning that help us to make a real difference for the communities to which we belong.

Today, such a thing could not be more important. The problem is, if you’re a warrior for social change through civic engagement, you’ve probably already been labeled an evil socialist. Civic engagement is so much more than that, though. The philosophical issue of civic engagement revolves around the individual as part of a bigger machine. Each of us must do our part to ensure the proper working order of society as a whole so that the machine may work more efficiently. These advancements can take place in the realm of civil rights, or the engineering of better ways to live.

If you volunteer at the local soup kitchen, you’re civically engaged. Even a small sacrifice, like lending your neighbor a cup of sugar, is a small civic service that cannot be overlooked. For things to really change though, more of us must seek out ways to better our communities proactively. It doesn’t just happen by itself.

In order to enhance civic engagement, a community requires a forum for its members to discuss new ideas, and a means to quickly implement them as efficiently as possible. Some communities across the country have adopted community-funded projects somewhat like what you might expect from a kickstarter project. These paradigms are being used more frequently, and this has the power to change both our current economic system and the democracy we use to elect politicians to office.

The Internet was a key player in the progress of civic engagement over the past two decades. With the growth of online forums, people have been able to communicate across vast distances in the blink of an eye, and this has helped facilitate faster change on the local level. We learn about better ways of doing things on the other side of the world, and we can implement them here with somewhat less of a hassle.

Other more common forums for civic engagement include school boards, neighborhood associations, and local resource centers. If you aren’t aware that your community has any of these organizations, you might want to find out. You might be surprised the kind of change you can implement when people are allowed to hear new ideas or methods of enacting real change. Such a thing can’t happen on the national level before we get the ball rolling at the local level.

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Hilary Swank and Animal Activism

Rising to stardom at a relatively young age, Hilary Swank has become well-known for roles such as Julie Pierce in The Next Karate Kid and Maggie Fitzgerald in Million Dollar Baby. Her extended acting career dating back to 1991 (when she was only 17 years old) has garnered media attention the globe over into the 21st century. However, while she may be best known for her filmography, there are other aspects in her life to which she dedicates herself with equal fervor, one of the more prominent areas being toward the treatment of animals.

The most obvious place to start is the Hilaroo Foundation, founded by Swank and inspired by her relationship with a dog she found on set in South Africa. The pup that she later named Karoo (get it? Hilary + Karoo = Hilaroo) had been abandoned and, according to veterinarians that initially took care of her before traveling to the States with Swank, had determined she was riddled with worms and ticks, and she had even been doused with kerosene. Swank attributes her desire to start the Hilaroo Foundation to the dog’s ability to convey a wide variety of emotions in her that sparked a need to give those same emotions to others in need.

The Hilaroo Foundation, at its core, is to unite troubled or passed-over youths with abandoned animals in an effort to offer some emotional stability to each other. United through the program, the child and animal simultaneously undergo sessions of therapy, responsibility training and team-building activities that promote wellness for each other. There are even plans in the works to extend facilities and availability to those in need so they can participate in after-school programs and even stay for week-long summer camp sessions. The long-term goal of this program is to improve learning possibilities through children and rescuing abandoned dogs that might otherwise suffer the fate of kill shelters. With hopes to cycle children through to graduation and give them an opportunity after the fact and helping rescue dogs into permanent homes, the Hilaroo Foundation hopes to bring more children from difficult situations and more dogs from untimely fates into a loving and positive atmosphere that can extend deep into their later lives.

Apart from being active with her foundation, however, Swank also takes a more hands-on approach with rescuing animals. She has been known to foster puppies out of Louie’s Legacy, a program that relocates dogs and cats from shelters into temporary foster homes before they can be placed in forever homes. Swank had recently fostered two golden retriever pups named Mulder and Scully, with plans on keeping one of them and finding a good home for the other.

Swank is also known for her positions as a spokesperson on behalf of programs and companies with deep connections to animals and their well-being and legal practice management software. In 2009, Swank was also approached on being the spokeswoman for the Iam’s Home 4 the Holidays adoption campaign, a campaign in which she actively participated when she adopted a golden retriever mix named Rumi.

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Bob Barker and Animal Activism

How many of us were able to watch The Price is Right when we were younger? Back when Bob Barker hosted the popular daytime game show? Does anyone remember the quip he snuck in frequently right before the credits rolled?

“Bob Barker reminding you to help control the pet population.  Have your pets spayed or neutered.”

As it turns out, this wasn’t simply for the sake of screen time.  In 1979, at the age of 56, Bob Barker became a vegetarian and, a couple years later following the passing of his wife, became highly involved in animal activism. He credits her for getting him involved and notes that she was far ahead of her time in recognizing animal rights.

It was shortly after this time that he began ending segments of The Price is Right with his famous phrase, and it carried over – even covertly – into other events that he hosted. Barker had been a part of the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants for a 20-year period before stepping down due to the pageant’s refusal to remove fur prizes from the program. The quiet rebellion and on-screen activism was only the beginning of Barker’s campaign to advocate for animal rights. Eventually, he would take a much more prominent, center-stage role.

While too old to contribute to animal activism in any particularly physical form, Barker has been known for dedicating millions of dollars toward various programs, even founding his own charity the DJ&T Foundation, in 1994 which sponsors animal rescue and park facilities across the United States as well as funds neutering programs to – as you guessed – help control the pet population. He had also spearheaded studies toward animal rights in 2004 by donating $1 million to Columbia University, which had gone toward funding an adjunct professorship in animal rights law as well as opening a student clinic in environmental law.

Barker eventually became more deeply involved at the base level, visiting various sites of suspected animal abuse, including a Cherokee reservation which maintained three separate zoos. Barker had alleged that one of the zoos maintained a poor living atmosphere for one of their bears and formally requested the exhibit be closed before involving PETA in an investigation of the site. While no wrongdoing was found on part of Federal investigators, it was clear that Barker was no longer taking a backseat with his work toward more humane animal rights.

2010 was a particularly eventful year for Bob Barker’s efforts, the same year that controversy arose involving Japanese whalers’ activities in the Southern Ocean, an area frequented by whale populations and prohibited for hunting by the International Whaling Commission. Barker had privately funded efforts in the amount of $5 million to accommodate a ship in the effort of intervening with the Japanese whaling fleet that was said to have operations there. In recognition of his contribution, the ship’s crew christened it MY Bob Barker.  Barker also funded a helicopter to be added to the fleet.

Barker was also known for a $2.5 million contribution to PETA toward building and renovating an office in the Los Angeles area, a project finally completed in 2012. The building officially opened under the name Bob Barker Building, an homage to his generous contributions.

Beyond these, Barker is known for his contributions toward various universities to fund animal law studies as well as his conservation efforts, from ceasing experimentation on cats to relocating circus lions, even to intervening at the state level to advocate against cruelty to pigeons in Pennsylvania. And while many remember him as the charismatic game show host of The Price is Right, many others in particular institutions know him for his unceasing efforts toward the ethical treatment of animals.

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The First Classical Feminist

Feminism has evolved over the last couple centuries.

It is fair to say that classical feminism has done much for women in many Western nations and in developed countries. Voting rights, right to own land, get educated and have a job, are all things that many women take for granted now.

While many in America know about the Suffragettes, headed by Susan B. Anthony, around the turn of the 20th century, but the concept of suffrage and other women’s rights were voiced in various societies well before the movement that allowed the female vote in America thanks to the 19th Amendment in 1920. It wasn’t just in America the issue was important to half the population.

A British woman named Mary Wollstonecraft in the 18th century was one of those activists.  She was only with us for 38 years, but she was a prolific writer and philosopher, most known for A Vindication of the Rights of Women in 1792, in which she argued that women were only inferior to men due to education, but that men and women should be treated as equally rational beings.

She was one of the first to preach about equality among the sexes.

She died just days after giving birth to her second daughter, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, who became the famous author Mary Shelley of Frankenstein fame. Her mother was married to one of the early founders of the anarchist movement, a man named William Godwin. Before marrying Godwin, however, Mary Wollstonecraft had a couple of affairs and had a daughter from one of them, a daughter named Fanny Imlay.

The most vocal early classical feminist, Wollstonecraft was an educational advocate, especially in the education of girls. She, her sister and a friend, combined to open a school for girls to give them a proper formal education, and she later wrote a pamphlet about her experiences in 1787.

She had been an anti-marriage feminist, joining her husband Mr. Godwin in stating marriage as a “tyranny,” especially when it comes to women being less educated than men and thus becoming tyrants in the house with children and servants. Wollstonecraft realized early on that she was not one to be a housewife or a domestic, so she left a position as a governess and returned to work as a writer, author, and advocate. Despite the “tyranny” of marriage, Wollstonecraft and Godwin married while she was pregnant with their daughter.

Besides writing A Vindication, which was in itself radical at the time, she also wrote Maria, or the Wrongs of Women, which was a missive that advocated women embracing their sexual selves, and that it was immoral for women to hide their sexuality. As modesty was all the rage at that time, her ideas generated a lot of buzz for their controversy.

She knew how to generate headlines, at least.

She was a celebrity of sorts in women’s social circles during the late 18th century, and she faded into the memories until the 1900s, when some suffragettes brought up her work in their push for voting rights in the United States. She also became a source of study during the new feminism movement of the 1960s and 1970s.

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Daryl Hannah’s Contribution to Environmental Activism

There are those who are willing to fight for environmental protections at great personal cost, and Daryl Hannah is one such individual. She is an actress who has been arrested on more than one occasion in order to prevent activities by those who may have a harmful impact on our world and its fragile ecosystems. She is best known as the character “Elle” (the deadly one-eyed nurse) from Kill Bill. Hannah’s exploration into ways to prevent man-made climate change is noteworthy for several contributions.

She records her own video blog “DHLoveLife” in order to help promote potential solutions for a better, more sustainable society moving away from the burning of fossil fuels. Viewers will recognize that she had her home built “green” and it is directly powered by solar energy, a solution which more and more people are getting on board with each year. On top of that, she is vegan and drives a vehicle that uses biodiesel.

Thankfully, solar advancement doubles every two years thanks to activism such as hers. Futurist Ray Kurzweil even predicts worldwide solar domination by 2028. Solar had just a half percent market share in 2012, one percent in 2014, and two percent in 2016. Do the math:

4% in 2018.

8% in 2020.

16% in 2022.

32% in 2024.

64% in 2026.

Total coverage by 2028.

Although this seems impossible, the principle is found in almost every aspect of information technology (consider the very similar Moore’s Law, for example). Many of these technologies double about once every eighteen months. Many of Kurzweil’s “crazy” predictions have come true in the past.

Hannah has done her part by promoting several programs devoted to clean energy alternatives. She participated in the iMatter March in 2011 and the Ride For Renewables project, then executively produced the documentary Greedy Lying Bastards to showcase the corporate connection to climate change denial. She also wrote letters to former President Barack Obama to ask that he cut his support for the Keystone XL pipeline. She was eventually arrested for blocking construction equipment for that same pipeline, and then again in front of the White House for protesting its construction (notably with Robert F. Kennedy).

She continues to participate in the World Future Council, a Hamburg organization dedicated to push forward policy that benefits those who will grow up in future generations–especially when it comes to environmental protections.

Although most of Hannah’s contributions to activism are environmental in nature, she is also a key player in the fight against sex trafficking and sexual slavery that still occurs worldwide. She travels the globe in order to document this terrible atrocity. If there were more people that devoted themselves to such causes, we might be living in a totally different world.

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Al Gore’s Contribution To Environmental Activism

For a long time now, Al Gore’s name has been synonymous with that of environmental activism, albeit usually in a comical context (for good reason). The former Vice President of the United States probably became more famous after he left that job for greener pastures. Just kidding. Those pastures are now devoid of life and desertification has expanded exponentially. Al Gore would like nothing more than to prevent our world’s journey towards a barren wasteland.

His contributions to environmental activism were always abundantly obvious because he’s fought so hard to make global climate change a hot topic of discussion for the media, politicians, and society at large on a world stage. In 2007, Gore and Richard Branson teamed up to create the Virgin Earth Challenge. Any individual or organization can participate in the competition which provides a $25 million prize for anyone who can figure out how to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere (and yes, that stuff really does up the planet). To date, no one has claimed the prize.

Perhaps more shocking is Gore’s insinuation that it may be time to resort to more drastic measures in order to help prevent more carbon from being poured into the atmosphere. He has suggested the possibility of “civil disobedience” in order to prevent companies from engaging in activity that could harm the environment. Sure, he’s not exactly suggesting outright anarchy, but he is strongly implying that we should be willing to break the law to help protect our planet from eventual destruction, something surprising to hear from a former VP–even if it is common for acting presidents, these days.

Veganism is probably one of the most controversial decisions you can make for yourself in 2017. If you come out as gay, then you’re more likely to be accepted by society than you are for making dietary choices for moral and ethical reasons. Whether or not that’s a welcome change is for you to decide. Gore decided to become a vegan in 2013 because he knows that our cattle production is a big part of the environmental crisis. Cattle require a lot of lands to raise, and they leave that land devoid of plant life. Desertification is a result of this process.

Gore recently lobbied for the Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina to end construction of a coal power plant that would endanger a nearby forest. He has also in the past been involved with a Climate Reality Project for an expedition to the Antarctic, a Repower America initiative focusing on green, renewable energy, and hundreds of lectures on the subject of manmade climate change. For the foreseeable future, we can count on Al Gore to continue to use the spotlight for the advantage of environmental activists everywhere.

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The Biggest Civil Rights Cases In The United States

Many of the rights that we have today were won through the courts. A number of major civil rights gains happened because of court decisions. Below, you’ll find information on some of the biggest civil rights cases in the United States, which have had a lasting influence on every city in the country, from Palm Beach to Seattle.

Brown vs. The Board of Education

In 1896, the Supreme Court ruled that segregation was legal in the controversial Plessy vs. Ferguson ruling. That ruling was overturned in 1954. The Supreme Court ruled that it was illegal to segregate public schools.

At the time, many schools in the United States were heavily segregated. Because of this decision, many students had to change schools. It was difficult for many students to attend the schools they were assigned to; in spite of the court’s decision, protestors fought back against black students attending traditionally white schools. However, civil rights workers worked to ensure that students were able to get the education that they were entitled to.

Shelley vs. Kraemer

In the 1940s, it was difficult for many minorities to purchase or rent property. Many people were turned down when they put in an offer on a home or applied to rent an apartment. In 1948, the Shelley vs. Kraemer case declared that it was illegal to enforce covenants that kept people of a certain race from renting or owning property.

This effects of this decision were limited; the Heart of Atlanta Motel, Inc. vs. The United States case in 1964 argued that hotel owners should be able to choose their tenants. However, the court determined that hotels did not have the right to restrict guests based on race.

Loving vs. Virginia

Interracial marriage was legal in parts of the United States for a long time. While interracial relationships still existed, a number of these relationships were conducted in secrecy.

After the Supreme Court heard the Loving vs. Virginia case in 1967, prohibitions against interracial marriage were declared to be unconstitutional. At the time, there were still 16 states that had laws against interracial marriage on the books, including Virginia. Thanks to this decision, those states had to revise their laws.

Many people fought hard for the rights that we have today. Civil rights are something that a number of people take for granted. It’s important to familiarize yourself with some of the biggest civil rights cases in United States history. Looking at the decisions of the past can help us to fight for a better future.

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Civil Rights Activism In Los Angeles

Los Angeles has always been a center of civil rights activism. From the Watts riots, to Rodney King, to Black Lives Matter, Los Angeles is a great place to be if you are interested in civil rights. Lost Angeles has a large black population and many black residents feel left out of the prosperity that they see all around them.

This feeling of being left out leads to many sorts of social problems and the pockets of lower income black neighborhoods have often fallen into disrepair and the unemployment rate is often high in these neighborhoods as well. There is often a lot of unrest and unhappiness in these neighborhoods.

There is institutional racism as well. The police are often antagonistic towards members of the black community and members of the community feel oppressed. Civil rights leaders in Los Angeles are helping to right the wrongs in the black community and hold police and government accountable to the problems that are happening in Los Angeles.

People are dying and they don’t need to be. The Watts riots started to bring the nation’s attention to the problems that were happening in the black community. The issue really exploded during the Rodney King riots. The Rodney King riots showed how deeply divided the police and the black community were. The entire nation could see it.

The Rodney King riots caused over a billion dollars worth of property damage and over 60 people were killed during the riots. The riots brought lots of positive changes to Los Angeles Police Department and the police made lots of reforms to the department. Civil rights leaders are working hard to bring change to Los Angeles and help people in disadvantaged communities rise up so they can move up the economic ladder.

Civil rights leaders in Los Angeles are constantly lobbying for change and coming up with innovative programs to help the black community in many ways. Leaders are coming up with educational programs, outreach programs that connect people in the black community to medical and legal help, and programs to help members of the black community own their own homes.

There are plenty of legal programs that are designed to help incarcerated black youth challenge their legal issues and help them with rehabilitation when they get out of prison. Los Angeles has plenty of civil rights leaders that are helping their community in many ways.

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