SAG voices: Five calls for empathy in politically fraught times

Mahershala Ali won the trophy for male actor in a supporting role for "Moonlight." He called for putting differences aside in his acceptance speech.
Mahershala Ali won the trophy for male actor in a supporting role for “Moonlight.” He called for putting differences aside in his acceptance speech.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

The Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday night served as an opportunity for actors to honor their own but also for Hollywood’s brightest stars to speak out about the increasingly volatile political climate. Here are five of the evening’s most impassioned pleas for humanity and empathy in the face of conflict.

“I am the daughter of an immigrant. My father fled religious persecution in Nazi-occupied France. And I’m an American patriot. And I love this country. And because I love this country, I am horrified by its blemishes. And this immigrant ban is a blemish, and it’s un-American.” — Julia Louis-Dreyfus, female actor in a comedy series winner for “Veep”

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“My mother is an ordained minister. I’m a Muslim. She didn’t do backflips when I called her to tell her I converted 17 years ago. But I tell you now, you put things to the side and I’m able to see her and she’s able to see me. We love each other. The love has grown. And that stuff is minutia. It’s not that important.” — Mahershala Ali, male actor in a supporting role winner for “Moonlight”

What August [Wilson] did so beautifully is he honored the average man, who happened to be a man of color. And sometimes we don’t have to shake the world and move the world and create anything that is going to be in the history book. The fact that we breathed and lived a life and was a god to our children, just that, means that we have a story and it deserves to be told.” — Viola Davis, female actor in a supporting role winner for “Fences”

“We will shelter freaks and outcasts, those who have no homes. We will get past the lies. We will hunt monsters. And when we are lost amidst the hypocrisy and casual violence of certain individuals and institutions, we will, as per Chief Jim Hopper, punch some people in the face when they seek to destroy the meek and the disenfranchised and the marginalized.” — David Harbour, speaking for the winning ensemble in a drama series, “Stranger Things”

This story is of unity. This story is about what happens when we put our differences aside and we come together as a human race. We win. Love wins. Every time.” — Taraji P. Henson, speaking for the winning cast in a motion picture, “Hidden Figures”

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