As part of International Women’s Day on March 8, women have pledged to show the world what life would be like without them. Fortunately it was last Sunday that actress Viola Davis delivered an emotional speech at the Academy Awards after winning the Best Supporting Actress award. The glittering ceremony was a refreshing break from immigration and other problems that have become the norm across the seas, with humanity seemingly nonexistent in the vocabulary of some in the highest offices.
In tears, Viola used the opportunity to remind the world of a solid truth: “There’s one place where all the people with the greatest potential are gathered: the graveyard.”
Truer words had never been spoken. The actress continued: “People ask me all the time, ‘What sort of stories do you want to tell, Viola?’ And I say, ‘Exhume those bodies. Exhume those stories. The stories of the people who dreamed big, and never saw those dreams to fruition. People who fell in love, and lost.’”
On Oscars day, Viola reminded the world of the uncertainty of time, and the fragility of life, something that seemed to have been forgotten in light of everything else making the news. Awarded for her role as Rose in Fences, Viola was thankful for having become an artist because she felt it was the only profession that truly celebrated what it meant to live. The movie itself was, in her words, about “people, and words, and life, and forgiveness, and grace”.
As for the Day Without a Woman Strike, women can get involved by taking a day off work, according to organizers, “whether you are paid or unpaid”, forgoing shopping (or choosing small, women- and minority-owned businesses), or wearing red in solidarity with those participating in and supporting the strike.
Happy International Women’s Day!