Viola Davis Defends Those 'Still in Silence' During 9-Minute Women’s March Speech

“In the words of my fellow American Malcolm X, I’m gonna make it plain.”

Hundreds of thousands of people attended the nationwide Women's March yesterday, January 20, including such A-list stars as Viola Davis who said #MeToo in a rallying speech about committing to progress and "keeping it rolling" despite the costs.

"In the words of my fellow American Malcolm X, I'm gonna make it plain," Davis said at the start of her 9-minute speech at the Los Angeles March — before describing America's history of racist and unequal legislation, such as the Jim Crow laws.

"I'm not ready to wait a hundred or two hundred years for things to change," she said, quoting Martin Luther King, Jr. "We only move forward when it doesn't cost us anything. But I'm here today saying that no one and nothing can be great unless it costs you something. The originators of the #MeToos; the Fannie Lou Hamers, the Recy Taylors, who in 1944 was gang-raped by six white men, and Rosa Parks. It cost them something. Nothing and no one can be great without a cost."

As she spoke to the crowd, apparently without the aid of notes or a teleprompter, Davis — an Oscar winner, an Emmy winner, and a two-time Tony winner — made public her own personal history, while defending the women who cannot. 

"I am speaking today, not just for the #MeToos, because I was a #MeToo, but when I raise my hand, I am aware of all the women who are still in silence," she said. "The women who are faceless. The women who don't have the money, and who don't have the constitution, and who don't have the confidence, and who don't have the images in our media that give them a sense of self-worth enough to break their silence that's rooted in the shame of assault. That's rooted in the stigma of assault."

"Listen, I am always introduced as an award-winning actor," the 52-year-old added. "But my testimony is one of poverty. My testimony is one of being sexually assaulted and very much seeing a childhood that was robbed from me. And I know that every single day, when I think of that, I know that the trauma of those events are still with me today. And that's what drives me to the voting booth. That's what allows me to listen to the women who are still in silence."

"That's what allows me to even become a citizen on this planet: the fact that we are here to connect, that we are here as 324 million people living on Earth, to know that every day that we breathe and we live, that we've got to bring everyone with us."

More From A Plus

GET SOME POSITIVITY IN YOUR INBOX

Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest news and exclusive updates.